The Source for Crime and Justice Data

View Record Details

Pub. Type:
The Police and Missing Children: Findings From a National Survey
Subtitle/Series Name:
Pub. Date:
Sep 1988
The mail survey gathered data on the number of missing children and youth cases reported to the police in 1986 and on recovery rates for five case categories (runaways, parental kidnappings, abduction by known individuals, stranger abductions, and unknown missing). Police departments were most likely to have had reports of missing runaways, followed by reports of parental abductions. Runaway cases and abductions by known individuals were most likely to be closed quickly. Stranger abduction cases, on the other hand, were more likely to remain open after 30 days. Most police departments made a written report of all missing children and youth calls, but most departments had not formalized written procedures for such cases. Over half of police departments had a separate juvenile unit, while slightly under half had a department for handling missing children and youth in the investigative division. Factors indicating a child or youth particularly at risk to investigators included age of 8 years or less, condition requiring prescription medication, mental handicap or disability, and danger of sexual exploitation. In the course of investigation, police checked juvenile haunts and runaway shelters, interviewed relatives and school officials, checked hospitals, circulated photographs, reported to the FBI, and obtained dental records, and warrants for abduction and unknown missing cases. Slightly more than half of police departments rated the homeless youth problem as not very serious or not serious at all. Obstacles to successful investigation were identified by respondents, and a series of regression models was examined to explore the effects of organizational and legal variables on investigative actions. Additional information on the survey is appended. source
NCJ 119910
United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Place of Production:
Washington, DC

Related Studies

This publication is related to the following dataset(s):