Missing kids a problem that needs addressing

Minot Police are once again looking for a missing youth. As of this writing, 17-year-old Jericho Crissler remains missing after having last been seen six days ago.

According to the FBI, in 2018 there were 424,066 entries for missing children in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. This number represents reports of missing children, meaning if a child runs away multiple times, each instance would be entered into the database separately and if an entry is withdrawn or amended, it also reflects in the statistics.

The key word is “runaway,” because in most cases that is the situation. The estimable National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reports it assisted with law enforcement and families with more than 25,000 cases of missing children. Of those cases, 92 percent involved “endangered runaways.” Four percent were a result of abduction by a family member. While abductions by a stranger are every parent’s nightmare and become huge news stories, the reality is that according to the NCMEC, fewer than one percent of the cases they were involved in were abductions by non family members. FBI statistics routinely back up the rarety of such cases.

Long-term missing children in North Dakota aren’t as common as in larger states, but even in Minot, an alert from police about a missing child isn’t a surprising development. Regardless of how a child goes missing, they are at risk. Children and teens in that situation are easy prey for human traffickers or other predators. That is in addition to the obvious risks and challenges of survival on one’s own as a youth.

North Dakota is doing a good job at making opioid abuse part of the political/public policy discussion, as it should be. Perhaps a similar focus on missing chidren should be a point of focus. If ever there was an issue that could unite people of all stripes, it would be the welfare of children. It will take a holistic approach to address the issue.

However, Minot Daily News believes it would be more than a worthwhile effort.

Furthermore, MDN will be reporting this month on the issue in North Dakota, including resources available to runaways and to those who might be thinking of running away because of conditions in the home.

It’s the right thing to do.

In the meantime, anyone with information about Jericho Crissler’s whereabouts is asked to call the Minot Police Department at 852-0111.