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Protecting Our Children: In Child Abduction Cases, the Best Defense is a Good Offense

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 29 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2002 Pages: 28-33
Ronnie Garrett
Date Published
October 2002
6 pages
This article discusses a three-pronged approach to child abduction that includes educating parents, community involvement, and technology.
The actual incidence of stranger abduction is rare. In most cases, the child knows their abductor in some way. Parents need to know what to watch for, how to talk to their kids, and the importance of checking in on them. Law enforcement plays an important role in getting parents to be more vigilant about the situations they allow their children to be a part of and the people they let them spend time with. A videotape, “Truth, Lies & Sex Offenders,” is used to educate parents and show them that someone they like and trust could be a sex offender. A curriculum based on the program “Understanding and Protecting Children From the Child Molesters in Our Community” overviews the strategies molesters use to entice victims and gain parental support, defines sexual abuse, details the prevention programs available for children and how parents can supplement this education at home, and offers supervision tips for parents. SERAPH, a security consulting and training firm that offers training on threat assessment and resolution, stalking, personal protection, and child safety, provides parents with material to use at home to practice protection techniques with their children. Current research states that teaching kids to protect themselves is ineffective. Law enforcement agencies can help communities organize neighborhood watches. Entire neighborhoods should be watching out for each other and for each other’s children. When a child is abducted, every second counts. A program called ADAM was developed to inform authorities and the public of child abductions. It enables the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to quickly distribute posters of missing children to government agencies, convenience stores, and hospitals. Files, including pictures of the child, are e-mailed to law enforcement agencies, radio and television stations, and restaurants and schools. Other nationwide technologies include the Amber Alert system and BeyondMissing. Legislation was recently introduced in Congress to create a nationwide communications warning network for child abduction cases.