Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"Of all children reported missing... 99.8% were returned home or located; the remaining number were virtually all runaways."

"Stranger Danger" to children vastly overstated - Boing Boing: "As a parent of two young children, it's my job to keep them healthy, safe, and happy. But I'm not at all worried they're going to be snatched off the street. Why? Because oft-spread claims that that 800,000 children are reported missing each year—with 300,000 children estimated to be sexually trafficked—are outdated or simply wrong...
"In fact, the true risk from people children don't know or who are "slight acquaintances" is extremely slim. As with most crime and violence, children are exposed to the greatest risk either because of family members or their own choices...

About the half of missing children — reported or otherwise — are runaways (their choice) or throwaways (kicked out without a place to go). These kids are at high risk of violence and various forms of exploitation, although the latter risk is overstated...  Most of the rest of the reports and estimates fall into "benign explanation" (43% of reported), in which the child isn't missing, but a caretaker thought they were. Another good-sized chunk, 8% of reported, are kids who were lost or injured — not intentionally missing and no other party was responsible. The number of custodial violations, in which a family member takes a child away without permission (involving force if aged 15 to 17), is nearly 120,000 (9%) from the survey estimates and 57,000 of the reported cases (7%).

...Of nonfamily abductions, just 115 children (90 reported) in 1999 were estimated to fit a stereotypical kidnapping by a stranger or slight acquaintance. Forty of those were killed. That's 1 child out of every 750,000 kidnapped, and 1 out of about every 2 million killed. Of all children reported missing (whether the estimate or based on reports), 99.8% were returned home or located; the remaining number were virtually all runaways."

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