Child abduction is one of the least likely risks for children, but it’s often the thought that terrifies parents the most. Here are some facts and statistics that will shed further light on the problem of child abduction:
1. Around 750,000 children and teens are reported missing to police departments every year. Thankfully, the vast majority of these cases are quickly solved, as the child is found and was missing for a rather mundane reason that has nothing to do with malevolent characters.
2. Stranger abductions, while terrifying for parents, are extremely rare. Less than 1% of the 25,000+ missing children cases tracked by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2018 were possible abductions by strangers.
3. The vast majority of missing children cases are runaways. The remaining cases consist primarily of family abductions amidst custody disputes, followed by non-family abductions by those who grow close to a child and want them for their own.
4. While many parents are concerned about their child being abducted by someone they meet online, such occurrences are extremely rare. In fact, I know of only a handful of cases where this has happened. In the unlikely event your child is abducted by someone outside the family, they are hundreds of times more likely to be abducted by someone they encounter in real life, not shadowy figures lurking in cyberspace.
5. Women are the culprits in 68% of all child abduction cases worldwide. (The Economist, “Money in Misery,” 2-7-09, p. 21)
6. Seven in 10 children will walk away with a stranger despite being warned, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. This is because merely telling kids “don’t talk to strangers” isn’t enough. They need more substantial training in stranger danger. (NCMEC)
7. For every successful stranger abduction, there are many more failed attempts. It’s hard to know the exact number, as many cases are disregarded by parents and never reported, and record keeping is spotty at best. But based on our own monitoring of news reports, we would estimate around 20 failed attempts for every successful abduction. So while only around 100 children are kidnapped and murdered each year (most by friends and family), countless others are tested! Make sure your child is prepared
8. Around 100 children are abducted and murdered in the U.S. each year. Around 60% of all child-murder abductions are at the hands of someone the child knows, not a stranger
9. In around 75% of all murder-abductions, the child is believed to be dead within 3-6 hours of the abduction