Every year, 800,000 missing children and approximately 2,000 children every day, are reported to local law enforcement agencies and the FBI. Abducting children is becoming more and more of an everyday thing for people of all ages and happens all over the world. Children can be kidnapped anywhere and be gone in the blink of an eye. The number of inmates that are in serving time for aggravated kidnapping in Texas Prisons are only getting higher. According to The Texas Tribune the information below are based on National Crime Information Center (NCIC) data submitted by Texas Department of Criminal Justice staff.
The reality of children getting abducted is a lot of times nowhere near what is seen on shows like Law and Order: SVU. Sometimes children are not really abducted but instead are just run aways. KidsHealth, by Nemours gives a couple of points about the realities of kidnapping.
- Most kids who are reported missing have run away or there has been a misunderstanding with their parents about where they were supposed to be.
- Of the kids and teens who are truly abducted, most are taken by a family member or an acquaintance; 25% of kids are taken by strangers.
- Almost all kids kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children.
- Most abducted kids are in their teens.
- Kids are rarely abducted from school grounds.
According to the law enforcement component of the Third National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–3), sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention the points below are some of the characteristics of stereotypical kidnapping in the year of 2011.
- An estimated 105 children were victims of stereotypical kidnappings in 2011, virtually the same as the 1997 estimate. Most kidnappings involved the use of force or threats, and about three in five victims were sexually assaulted, abused, or exploited.
- Victims were, most commonly, ages 12 to 17, girls, white, and living in situations other than with two biological or adoptive parents. Half of all stereotypical kidnappings in 2011 were sexually motivated crimes against adolescent girls.
- Most perpetrators of 2011 stereotypical kidnappings were male, were ages 18 to 35, and were white or black in equal proportions. About 70 percent were unemployed, and roughly half had problems with drugs or alcohol.
- Fewer stereotypical kidnappings ended in homicide in 2011 than in 1997 (8 percent versus 40 percent). Most kidnappers were not violent at first contact with victims; instead, they lured almost 70 percent of victims through deception or nonthreatening pretexts. Kidnappings involving 92 percent of child victims in 2011 ended in recovering the child alive, compared with 57 percent of victims in 1997.
- 2011 estimates of child victims being detained overnight were three times the 1997 estimates (80 percent versus 26 percent).
- Technologies, such as cell phones and the Internet, helped law enforcement to solve crimes involving two-thirds of the victims.
The Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART–2) conducted a twelve month study on non family abductions and the results are shown through the table below. The concentrated study year is 1999.
An estimated 57% of all child victims of nonfamily abduction were missing from their caretakers during the year of 1999. 21% of non family abductions were reported as missing. 78% of total victims of stereotypical kidnappings were reported missing during the study year. Table 1 gives a detailed estimate of non family abducted children.
There are many ways to try and prevent kidnapping though. One major thing is for adults/parents to talk with their children about strangers and their surroundings. KidsHealth by Numours gives these tips to help prevent kidnapping.
- Make sure custody documents are in order.
- Have ID-like photos taken of your kids every 6 months and have them fingerprinted. Many local police departments sponsor fingerprinting programs.
- Keep your kids’ medical and dental records up to date.
- Make online safety a priority. The Internet is a great tool, but it’s also a place for predators to stalk kids. Be aware of your kids’ Internet activities and chat room “friends,” and remind them never to give out personal information. Avoid posting identifying information or photos of your kids online.
- Set boundaries about the places your kids go. Supervise them in places like malls, movie theaters, parks, public bathrooms, or while fundraising door to door.
- Never leave kids alone in a car or stroller, even for a minute.
- Choose caregivers — babysitters, childcare providers, and nannies — carefully and check their references. If you’ve arranged for someone to pick up your kids from school or day care, discuss the arrangements beforehand with your kids and with the school or childcare center.
- Avoid dressing your kids in clothing with their names on it — children tend to trust adults who know their names.
By Courtney Shook