If someone tries to break into your house do you hit them with a frying pan?
What if you get home and see strangers in your kitchen? Should you go out to the shed, grab a hammer and be a hero?
Should you help someone put stuff in their car at the mall?
No, no and no, Sgt. Michael Want of the Braintree Police Department told kids in the Braintree After School Enrichment program at Hollis School on Monday afternoon.
Want instead offered the students a simple and effective response to "stranger danger." Always say loudly that the person is not one of your parents and yell as hard as you can, he said.
"You're not my mother, you're not my father and I don't know you," Want told the kids to yell. "If you're screaming and yelling until your throat hurts, someone is going to hear you."
The BASE kids also peppered Want with a variety of questions and tales of their own experiences with the police.
Among the answers: the K9 program is a valuable tool for finding people when the police cannot; Want and other officers rarely fire their guns (and prefer to call them "firearms"), only use them and other weapons when their lives or the public is in danger; and between Braintree and his previous post in Boston, Want estimates that he has arrested more than 1,000 people.
As for the South Shore Plaza?
"It's loaded with people we don't know," Want said. If someone tries to grab you, run and scream at the top of your lungs.