Plain-clothes police are beefing up surveillance at Wollongong's Botanic Garden after a man's persistent and brazen attempts to abduct a nine-year-old boy.
Detectives are expected to resume doorknocking in neighbourhoods surrounding the gardens this morning as the investigation into the attack enters its third day.
Wollongong Detective Sergeant Simon Day said police were following multiple avenues of inquiry, including CCTV footage from the University of Wollongong and nearby businesses, and new leads volunteered by the public.
"A young child has been approached and attacked. It's extremely serious," Det Sgt Day said.
"We're devoting a lot of resources in an attempt to get a result.
"We've received some useful information and would like it to keep coming in."
The nine-year-old boy and his six-year-old friend had been searching for lizards at the Wollongong Botanic Garden a short distance from their mothers when a stranger approached at 12.20pm on Monday.
The boys twice walked away. However, a short time later the man again approached as the children played in a wooded area, grabbing the nine-year-old around the waist, covering his mouth and telling him "not to scream".
The younger boy ran for help while the victim struggled with the man, then managed to break free.
Up to 12 police flooded the gardens soon after the attack. Yesterday, uniformed and plain-clothes officers patrolled the grounds and began doorknocking in nearby streets.
They intend to canvass Murphys Ave, Keiraville, at 7pm tonight.
The man is described as being around 40 years of age, 168cm tall with a medium build and short grey hair.
He was carrying a green enviro shopping bag at the time of the attack.
Police urge children, if grabbed by a stranger, to alert nearby adults by yelling, "Go away, I don't know you".
A police spokesman said children should make sure their parent or another adult knew where they were at all times.
And they should always walk directly to their destination, through busier roads and streets.
The spokesman said children should learn about safe places to stop - such as service stations, police stations and libraries.
"If children are ever frightened they should go to one of these places and ask them to call the police."
Parents are also encouraged to teach children not to talk to anyone they don't know and to look out for safe adults they can turn to if scared, such as police officers or teachers.
Anyone with information on the attempted abduction is urged to contact Wollongong police or CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.