Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

On the CBS show Criminal Minds a team patterned after the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit becomes involved with a different case each week.

CRIMINAL MINDS revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most prominent agent is David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), a founding member of the BAU, who returns to help the team solve new cases, while pursuing some unfinished business of his own.

In this week’s show “Season 4: Episode 21: A Shade of Gray” about a series of child abductions and murders Rossi made this frightening statement. 

“99% of abducted children are killed in the first 24 hours”

Dramatic statistics but not actually correct, at least according to the Case Management for Missing Children Homicide Investigation report by the Washington State Attorney and the U.S. Department of Justice- Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention. The statistic quoted is for those children who were abducted and murdered not for all abducted children.

There are approximately 115 children in the U.S. who are victims of a “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know or a slight acquaintance who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently. Approximately 40% of these children are murdered or never recovered.

  • 46.8% of abducted children who were murdered were found dead in less than an hour .
  • 76.2% of abducted children who were murdered were found dead within the first 4 hours.
  • 88.5% of abducted children who were murdered were found dead within the first 24 hours.
  • 97.9% of abducted children who were murdered were found dead within 7 days.

     Related Post:

    2006 Child Abduction Murder Study

    If the shoe fits


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    The National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) Missing Person File was implemented in 1975. Records in the Missing Person File are retained indefinitely, until the individual is located or the record is canceled by the entering agency.

    The National Child Search Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5779, 5780) requires law enforcement to immediately enter into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database every reported case involving a missing child. The intent of this law is to ensure that law enforcement disseminates as quickly as possible information vital to the recovery of a missing child. The steps for entering a child abduction into NCIC are critical:

    Enter the information immediately—with NO delay. Law enforcement should enter a child into NCIC immediately without delay. The initial entry should be reviewed within one hour of entry into NCIC and verified as to the entry time, accuracy of the descriptive information of the victim and/or perpetrator, vehicle used in the abduction, and other information that could help law enforcement apprehend the perpetrator. (Information about the perpetrator should also be entered in the Wanted Person File if a warrant is issued, and the records should be linked.) Unfortunately, in some cases data about an abducted child was not entered into NCIC until hours and even days after the child’s disappearance. Such delays can have disastrous consequences.

    Use the proper NCIC category. Child abduction cases should be entered into the NCIC Missing Person File in either the endangered or the involuntary category, and the child abduction (CA) flag should be entered. An NCIC number will be automatically assigned when the record is entered. The reporting agency should assign a case or originating agency case (OCA) number to the preliminary or initial investigation. Each entry of a child age 17 or under should be reviewed to ensure that the information has been entered into the appropriate category. NCIC will then send an immediate notification to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC call center staff will get in contact with the appropriate law enforcement agency to conduct the intake of the case and offer all available resources. The designated supervisor should also audit each entry within one hour of the initial entry to verify and authenticate each record, signature, and time.



    UNDER 18

    18 AND OLDER


























































    WHITE *




    * Includes Hispanic

     Source: NCIC Active/Expired Missing and Unidentified Analysis Reports


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    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.

    do the math

    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

    Why so many?

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    The Analysis of AMBER Alert Cases in 2006 report presents information about cases in which AMBER Alerts were activated in 2006. These cases may involve one or more children and be issued for multiple states. They are analyzed in this report conducted by the NCMEC and supported by a Grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice when an AMBER Alert is issued the case is categorized as 1 of 4 types:

    • Family Abduction (FA) – involves an abductor who is a family member of the abducted child such as a parent, aunt, grandfather, or stepfather
    • Nonfamily Abduction (NFA)- involves an abductor unrelated to the abducted child – either someone unknown to the child and/or the child’s family or an acquaintance/friend of the child and/or the child’s family
    • Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing (LIM)- involves a case where the circumstances of the child’s disappearance are unknown
    • Endangered Runaway (ERU) – the missing child is believed to have run away and is in imminent danger.

    The study covers mose aspects of an Amber Alert including but not limited to:

  • Number and Characteristics of Children Reported Missing
  • Number and Characteristics of Abductors
  • Abductor Relationship to Child
  • Time Between Missing and Activation
  • Days Between Missing and Recovery
  • Days Between Activation and Recovery
  • Of the 261 AMBER Alerts issued between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2006, 214 cases resulted in a recovery, 53 of which were successfully resolved as a direct result of those respective AMBER Alerts being issued. Nine (9) children were recovered deceased, and, as of April 21, 2007, 10 cases still remain active with 11 children still missing. In 2005, 13 children who were involved in AMBER Alerts were recovered deceased.


    In 2006, travel distances between where the child was reported missing and recovered were calculated for 202 AMBER-Alert cases. In 92 cases the missing and recovery locations were in the same city; in 79 cases the distance between missing and recovery locations were outside the city but within 100 miles of each other; in 24 cases the distance between missing and recovery locations ranged between 101 miles and 500 miles; in 4 cases the distance between missing and recovery locations ranged between 501 miles and 1,000 miles; and in 3 cases travel distances were more than 1,000 miles.

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    In excess of 800,000 children are reported missing each year.

    You have seen the statistics. Reading about the Trenton Duckett disappearance, I ran across this Orlando Sentinel about missing children cases in Florida.


    On average, 453 children have gone missing each year since 1984 making Florida the 3rd highest. If you multiplied that number by 50, that would equate, on the high side to roughly 22,650 children missing each year. A huge number but far less then 800k.

    “…In fact, Trenton is just one of several thousand Florida children reported missing during the past decade. Only California and Illinois outnumber  Florida’s 9,521 missing-children cases reported between 1984 and 2005 to the Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

    How do you report statistics if you don’t keep the records? Maybe that explains why all the referenced studies they do use are several years old.


    “…While the Missing & Exploited Children center typically receives the most publicized cases, it does not keep records of all children reported missing.“We actually get a small proportion of cases reported [to law enforcement] because the vast majority of cases are resolved quickly,” said Athena Ware, a spokeswoman for the organization…”

    Are family abductions treated with the same sense of urgency as non-family abductions or are they expected to resolve themselves?


    “…But most children reported missing to police show up several hours after wandering off, law-enforcement officials say. Others get snatched up by someone they know or a parent fighting for custody…”

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