Local News

'Lock-On' Device Protects Kids From Would-Be Abductors

Posted March 6, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— "Never talk to strangers" is a slogan that goes back to 1921. A Raleigh self-defense expert and inventor says the time has come to change that old way of thinking. He has invented a watch that turns into a safety device.

Nearly 1,000 children are kidnapped each day in the United States. Chris Harris' new invention, Lock-on, can give the child a way to fight back.

The device allows a child to slide their hand through a cable stored behind the watch, twist their wrist and lock onto an object. Within two seconds, the watch basically becomes a pair of handcuffs.

"Even if I did get the hands apart from each other, now I have to let go of one hand to figure out which way she twisted," Harris says. "While I'm doing that, she's grabbing her fingers back together again."

By making her more difficult to snatch, the bad guy is more likely to leave. Once the threat is over, the watch snaps back into place.

"Experts around the world agree that if a child can hold their ground for 10 seconds or more, then the abductor will probably flee," Harris says.

Harris is an expert himself. He lives in Raleigh, but is known around the world for his knowledge of self-defense.

Harris grew up on the streets and spent years bouncing from one foster family to another.

Violence was a part of his childhood. He turned to self-defense to survive, and now he is turning his attention to protecting children with his Capital Idea.

"It's something that I have a heart for, and although I'm not doing it to survive anymore, now I'm doing it to teach others to survive," Harris says.

Harris says the watch will come with general safety guidelines that all children should follow. Plans are in the works to have the Lock-on devices made in the Triangle area. They will cost about $30.

A man in Wilson has invented a safety lock of his own.

Bob Smith is working on getting a patent for his Capital Idea.

A steel device can be placed on a doorknob so no one can get in unless they break the door down. Smith got the idea when he saw a report about a robbery at a hotel.

"I was watching TV one night, and they were showing on the news where women had gone and checked into a hotel, went out to eat and when they came back, all their stuff was gone," Smith says. "I told my wife I have to put a stop to that."

Smith says he is working on making the safety lock out of a lighter material so it can be carried around more easily.