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 systemssuch as the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system and OJJDP's National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Childrendo 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.