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Missing Children What to do if your Child Disappears | Other Resources
What to do if your Child Disappears Other Resources

Missing Child Statistics

Kidnapping: Whenever a person is taken or detained against his or her will, including hostage situations, whether or not the victim is moved. Kidnapping is not limited to the acts of strangers but can be committed by acquaintances, by romantic partners, and, as has been increasingly true in recent years, by parents who are involved in acrimonious custody disputes. Kidnapping involves both short-term and short-distance displacements, acts common to many sexual assaults and robberies.

According the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC)

  • 85% to 90% of the 876,213 persons reported missing to America’s law enforcement agencies in 2000 were juveniles (persons under 18 years of age). That means that 2,100 times per day parents or primary care givers felt the disappearance was serious enough to call law enforcement.
  • 152,265 of the persons reported missing in 2000 were categorized as either endangered or involuntary.
  • The number of missing persons reported to law enforcement has increased from 154, 341 in 1982 to 876,213 in 2000. That is an increase of 468%.

According to the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Juvenile Justice Bulletin, June 2000

  • Kidnapping makes up less than 2 percent of all violent crimes against juveniles reported to police.
  • Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: kidnapping by a relative of the victim or “family kidnapping” (49 percent), kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or “acquaintance kidnapping” (27 percent), and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or “stranger kidnapping” (24 percent).
  • Family kidnapping is committed primarily by parents, involves a larger percentage of female perpetrators (43 percent) than other types of kidnapping offenses, occurs more frequently to children under 6, equally victimizes juveniles of both sexes, and most often originates in the home.
  • Acquaintance kidnapping has features that suggest it should not be lumped with stranger kidnapping into the single category of non-family kidnapping, as has been done in the past.
  • Acquaintance kidnapping involves a comparatively high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, is more often associated with other crimes (especially sexual and physical assault), occurs at homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims.
  • Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females than males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-age children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of girl victims and robberies in the case of boy victims (although not exclusively so), and is the type of kidnapping most likely to involve the use of a firearm.

If any other segment of our population were so impacted, we would declare an epidemic: the center for disease control would fund a cure; we would pass and enforce legislation and we would increase private and public security. But, since it is only our children many in our society accept these appalling numbers as status quo. Although there are no quick fixes to the problems of child safety, there are many things that we can do as adults to address and positively impact the issue.

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