Information About Missing Children
Runaways and Potential Abductions
- Child Locator Website This web site, maintained by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, contains information about Michigan children who have been reported to law enforcement as runaways or potential abductions.
Michigan's Missing Children Information Clearinghouse
- What is Michigan's Missing Child Information Clearinghouse?
Michigan's Missing Child Information Clearinghouse (MMCIC) operates as an information and referral resource to the public, local law enforcement, and other state clearinghouses. It provides information and guidance, where possible, to these entities. The clearinghouse oversees and ensures that law enforcement agencies follow the law as it relates to the immediate entry of missing children (under the age of 18) into Michigan's Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN)/National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system. It ensures that parents have followed all the proper procedures for reporting a missing child to their local police department and getting the child entered into LEIN/NCIC. Reports of runaway, parentally abducted or otherwise missing or exploited children are made directly to local law enforcement agencies.
- Kidnapping Information
A study conducted by the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) of 1,214 juvenile kidnappings from jurisdictions in twelve states in 1997, revealed the following information:
- Kidnapping makes up less than 2% of all violent crime against juveniles reported to police.
- Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct type of kidnapers; kidnapping by a relative of a victim or "family kidnapping" (49%), kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victim or "acquaintance kidnapping" (27%), and kidnapping by a stranger to the victim or "stranger kidnapping" (24%).
- Family kidnapping is primarily committed by parents, involves a larger percentage of female perpetrators (43%) than other types of kidnapping offenses, occurs more frequently to children under the age of six, equally victimizes juveniles of both sexes, and most often originates in the home.
- Acquaintance kidnapping involves a high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, and is more often associated with other crimes like sexual and physical assault. Acquaintance kidnapping occurs in homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims.
- Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females than males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-aged children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of female victims and robberies in the case of male victims (although not exclusively so), and is the type of kidnapping most likely to involve the use of a firearm.
According to the State of Washington's Office of the Attorney General, "the murder of a child who is abducted…. is a rare event. There are estimated to be about 100 such incidents in the United States each year, less than one-half of one percent of the murders committed;" however, "74% of abducted children who are murdered are dead within 3 hours of the abduction."
- Kidnapping Statistics
In October of 2002, the United States Department of Justice released the second annual National Incident Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children. The data from this report spanned the years 1997 to 1999. When examining non-family abduction of children, key findings from the study revealed:
- During the study year, there was an estimated 115 stereotypical kidnappings, defined as abductions perpetrated by a stranger or slight acquaintance and involving a child who was transported 50 or more miles, detained overnight, held for ransom or with intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
- In 40% of the stereotypical kidnappings, the child was killed, and in another 4%, the child was not recovered.
- There were an estimated 58,200 child victims of non-family abductions, defined more broadly to include all non-family perpetrators (friends, acquaintances, strangers) and crimes involving lesser amounts of forced movement or detention in addition to the more serious crimes entailed in stereotypical kidnappings.
- 57% of the children abducted by a non-family perpetrator were missing from caretakers for at least 1 hour, and the police were contacted to help locate 21% of the abducted children.
- Teenage children were by far the most frequent victims of both stereotypical kidnappings and non-family abductions.
- Nearly half of all child victims of stereotypical kidnappings and non-family abductions were sexually assaulted by the perpetrator.
- Safety Tips
The Michigan State Police suggest the follow safety tips to help parents to keep their children safe:
- Parents should take an active role in their children's lives. Parents should know where their children are at all times, and be familiar with their children's friends and daily activities.
- Parents should teach their children to ask for permission from them first before going anywhere or with anyone.
- Parents should teach their children to use the "buddy system" and to never travel alone.
- Parents should teach their children that if something makes them feel uneasy or uncomfortable, they should get away quickly and tell their parents or a trusted adult about what had happened.
- Parents should teach their children that it is okay to be suspicious of an adult asking for assistance, many child predators use this technique to isolate and distract a possible child victim.
- Parents should assure their children that they have the right to say "no" when they sense something is wrong.
- Children should know their home address and telephone number, and know how to contact their parents if there is an emergency (for example; a relative's telephone number or the parent's work telephone number).
- The parents should devise a code word that the child can learn in case there is an emergency, and a trusted adult needs to contact the child. The child should be taught that the code word is special and should not be shared with their friends.
- Parents should teach their children how to dial "911" when asking for help in an emergency. Parents should teach their children that when they are talking on the telephone to the "911" operator, they should tell the person their name, speak loudly, slowly and clearly, and not to hang-up.