While we continue to hear about constant kidnappings, how frequent is it really?
While we continue to hear about constant kidnappings, how frequent is it really?
Faith Vaught

Rise of Kidnapping, Fact or Fiction

Even though we as a society are better prepared against kidnappings, why does it feel like there is more danger and worry surrounding it?

In 2015, The Washington Post argued that “There’s never been a safer time to be a kid in America.” Parents constantly grapple with the weight of protecting their children, a responsibility magnified by the unsettling specter of kidnappings. In a world where safety can feel tenuous, the fear of such a nightmare scenario looms large. 

Looking back to previous generations, the landscaping of child kidnapping was different, and parents often lived with a sense of security that seems almost foreign today. Reminiscing about a time when children played outside until the streetlights came on, and neighbors stayed on the watch for one another’s kids. Despite higher statistical rates of child abduction in some cases, there was a prevailing sense of trust in communities and a belief in the inherent safety of childhood. Parents granted their children a different level of freedom to explore the world around them without the constant shadow of fear looming overhead.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in parental concerns regarding the safety of their children, one in particular concerning the risk of kidnapping. The number of “involuntary missing children,” cases opened each year due to circumstances like kidnappings and abductions, including by non-custodial family members, fell by 27% from 2015 to 2022, FBI data shows. It’s reassuring to note that kidnapping cases have seen a decline in recent years. “With about 72 million kids 0-17 in America, the odds are about 1 in 720,000, or closing in on 1 in a million.” Let Grow said. 

This decline can be attributed to various factors, including increased awareness of child safety measures among parents and communities, stricter law enforcement efforts, and advancements in technology for tracking and monitoring. Additionally, there are educational campaigns such as, KidSmartz, which is a child safety program that helps educate families about how they can better prevent abduction. Initiatives like this aimed at raising awareness about child abductions risks have played a crucial role in empowering both parents and children to recognize and respond to potential dangers. While it’s important to remain vigilant, this downward trend offers some comfort to parents and caregivers, highlighting the effectiveness of proactive measures in safeguarding children.

Media coverage and the prevalence of information on platforms like social media have played a significant role in amplifying these worries. Media coverage has the power to shape perceptions and magnify fears, often portraying isolated incidents of child abduction in a sensationalized manner. When stories are repeatedly broadcasted or circulated on social media, they can create a false impression of heightened risk. Likewise, the 24-hour news cycle and online platforms tend to focus on rare but dramatic cases, which can distort the perception of the actual frequency of such events. As a result, parents may feel an increased sense of vulnerability and feel compelled to take extra precautions to protect their children.

Despite the understandable worry, it’s essential for parents to find a balance between protecting their children and allowing them the freedom to explore and grow. Open communication, education about safety measures, and fostering independence can help alleviate some of the anxieties surrounding child abduction. Community support, neighborhood watch programs, and teaching children how to recognize and respond to potentially dangerous situations can contribute to a safer environment.

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About the Contributor
Faith Vaught
Faith Vaught, Reporter
Faith Vaught is a junior, and this is her first year in magazine. She is thrilled to finally be a part of this program. She is excited to be a part of the theater arts program this year; wanting to broaden her horizons.  She spends her time outside of school playing soccer for Rush and playing video games in her free time.

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