How difficult should it be to have publicly available missing/abducted child statistics?
Search this site in the category Missing Children Statistics and you will be able view many posts questioning:
The current recovery of Shawn Hornbeck and William “Ben” Ownby now appears to have mainstream media curious too.
In this Newsweek article, Ernie Allen, CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) discusses the data.
NEWSWEEK: How many children are missing at any given time?
Ernie Allen: There are two ways to answer that. One is, whenever a child is reported to police as missing, it is now federal law—it has been since 1990—that the police are required to immediately take a report and enter it in the FBI’s national crime computer. In 2005, there were 834,000 total missing persons reports, adult and children, of which it’s roughly estimated, year to year, that 85 percent are kids. So approximately 700,000 children were reported to the police as missing in 2005.
But not all those kids were kidnapped, right?
Right. That police report data doesn’t really give you the ability to categorize how the children went missing. In 2000, though, the Justice Department released its latest National Incidents study, which is based on academic survey research rather than police reports. The study estimated that there are about 800,000 children a year reported missing. The largest share of those are runaways. Then comes family abductions, or children taken by family members, typically noncustodial parents. That number is about 200,000 a year. Then there are nonfamily abductions, which are estimated at 58,200 a year and are made up of relatively short-term takings of children, primarily as an element of another offense. So in most of these cases, the child is abducted, victimized in some way and then let go. Many don’t even make it into police reports under abduction.
In an article published by the Chicago Sun Times, they draw there own conclusion.
In 1986 two writers for the Denver Post, Diana Griego and Louis Kilzer, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Their series of articles published in May 1985, “The Truth about Missing Children” provided an in-depth study of “missing children.” The articles revealed that most were involved in custody disputes or runaways. At the time it helped to mitigate national fears stirred by exaggerated statistics.