June 2000

Crime Against Children Kidnaping of Juveniles:
Patterns From NIBRS

David Finkelhor and Richard Ormrod


The National Incident-Based Reporting System

Juvenile Kidnaping—A Rare Occurrence




This Bulletin was prepared under grant number 98-JN-FX-0012 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.

Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

A Message From OJJDP

The kidnaping of a child is a crime that tears at the fabric of society. Until recently, the nature and scope of the problem have been unclear because existing crime data collection systems—such as the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system and OJJDP's National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children—do not collect law enforcement data on kidnaping.

Fortunately, that is about to change. In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the FBI is supplanting the UCR with the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). This will enhance our understanding of youth abduction and create a comprehensive picture of kidnaping offenses.

This Bulletin describes the offense of kidnaping of juveniles, using 1997 NIBRS data. Among other significant findings, the analysis reveals that such abductions are relatively uncommon, that there are three distinct kinds of perpetrators, and that the rate of juvenile kidnaping peaks in the afternoon.

The better we understand this serious crime, the more effective our efforts will be to prevent and respond to it. NIBRS promises to be an important tool in that process.


This Bulletin was prepared by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, and Director, Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire; and Richard Ormrod, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire.

NCJ 181161

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