In the Internet Age, it is hard to believe that someone would not be aware of the issue of how many children are missing.
Unfortunately, while millions of Federal dollars are allocated in the U.S. to raise public awareness about missing children, it isn’t a simple task for the general public to find current statistics or information. A State like California or Wisconsin readily publishes data while others simply choose not to. Even the data published can vary depending on the source.
“….The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is part of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, provides every state with a monthly report detailing statistics regarding the number of missing children in the state that month. The numbers reflect the total active missing children cases reported to NCIC for that month….”
However, there can be more entries than children. Therefore the report can appear skewed as it is based on transactions. For example every time a child runs away an entry is made and when they are found it is closed. If the same child runs away or goes missing 10 times, that could have 10 different entries even though it is a single child, so instead of 10 runaways or 10 missing children, it is only one.
So when the mother of missing Madeleine McCann expresses her concern, she may be surprised to learn the U.S. may not be as advanced as she believes when it comes to educating the general public on missing children issues. The reality is that roughly 115 children annually fall prey to “stereotypical kidnappings“;tragic but a far cry from the 800,000 reported missing children number often quoted.
It is only since Madeleine was taken from us, that Gerry and myself have become aware of just how many children go missing each year from all around the world. The scale of the problem is huge. In fact, it is terrifying. I have asked myself many times “why did I not know about this? Am I that naïve or is it the fact that the problem itself is not well publicised for whatever reason?”
U.S. list of Missing-Child Clearinghouse Programs