CLEVELAND — Each year, May 25 is designated National Missing Children’s Day. It was enacted in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. It came six years after the disappearance of Etan Patz.
On Tuesday, the FBI and Cleveland Police Department set up at Steelyard Commons to put the spotlight on missing children and educate parents about how to keep children safe.
“What I would say to parents is be in their business, know who they are talking to, check their phones, privacy is not an option,” said Special Agent Vicki Anderson, Cleveland FBI.
According to FBI reports, 365,348 National Crime Information Center entries were made last year for missing children. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that approximately 91% of missing children are endangered runaways, 5% are family abductions, 1% are lost or injured, 1% are nonfamily abductions and 3% are critically missing young adults between the ages of 18 and 20.
“A true abduction by a stranger is rare, it’s about 1 or 2% of all missing children cases,” said Supervisory Special Agent David Dustin, Cleveland FBI.
Dustin is part of the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team which started in 2006. The team is deployed when a child is missing.
“Those first hours are very critical to finding and rescuing these missing children,” said Dustin.
To date, the Amber Alert Program has been credited with safely recovering 1,064 children. Each state has its own specific Amber Alert Plan.
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