Tulsa Police: Number Of Children Reported Missing Decreased In The Past Year – News On 6

The Tulsa Police Department said reported missing children cases have gone down across the city in the past year. In 2021 there were 755 children reported missing, most of whom were recovered. Investigators say that number isn’t going down because fewer children are going missing, it’s because parents are proving to be less likely to report a child missing as society is changing.
Lt. John Adams said the ransomware attack on the department also plays a part in the lower numbers as some reports may not be counted properly in the system.
Adams said there are four types of reports when it comes to a lost child. The categories are runaway, kidnapping, child stealing and missing.
Out of last year’s 755 cases:
-642 of those were voluntary runaways
-89 were child stealing
-15 children were classified as missing
-9 were kidnapped
Overall these numbers are down from a total of 920 cases in 2020 and 922 cases in 2019.
Adams said parents are being more lenient on their kids, making them less likely to report them gone in a timely fashion. Adams says the sooner a guardian files a report with as much information as possible, the better.
“Parents need to pay attention to their children,” Adams said. “What they are doing, who their friends are, who their friend’s parents are, what vehicles they’ve been seen in.”
According to Adams, keeping an eye on your child’s social media and making an open line of trust and communication in your home is the best way to protect your child from them going missing.
“They always have another account. Children don’t just have one Facebook, one Instagram, one Snapchat, they always have one for show and one that they use,” Adams said.
TPD says more often than not, a close friend or family member is the one who takes the child. He said in some cases it may be a grandparent who is taking the child for their protection in an abusive home situation. Adams said in other cases the person stealing the child is being malicious and this is when the case gets dangerous.
“The stranger danger we pulled out years ago when you were young and I was young it was always stranger danger, in all actuality when you look at the numbers of who the abusers are, it’s a known family member or friend or trusted person,” Adams said.
Tulsa police say it’s important that a missing persons report be filed as quickly as possible in any missing situation so they can get the child out of potential danger as quickly as possible.

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