Missing Person Statistics in the U.S.

28 Jan 2019

In 2017, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) entered 651,226 missing person records into their database. This was a .6 percent increase from the 2016 records of 647,435 missing persons. During the same period, the NCIC purged 651,215 records from its database due to the person returned home, law enforcement located the subject or it was determined the record was invalid.

The NCIC is considered the “lifeline” of law enforcement. It’s the electronic crime data clearinghouse that just about any criminal justice agency around the nation can tap into 24 hours a day, all year long. It helps criminal justice professionals locate:

  • Identify terrorists
  • Apprehend fugitives
  • Recover stolen property
  • Locate missing persons

It helps law enforcement officers perform their jobs more safely and helps protect the public with necessary information.

NCIC was introduced in January of 1967. At that time it had only five files and 356,784 records. At the end of the year 2015, it had 21 files and 12 million active records. NCIC was averaging around 12.6 million transactions daily during 2015 alone.

Missing people is a big concern, often involving children. Parents have to worry about their kids wandering, getting lost or being abducted.

The Use of GPS Tracking Devices

A way to add an extra level of security is by owning a personal GPS tracking device where you can track the whereabouts of your loved ones. GPS tracking is simple to use and you could already have it right on your cell phone or in your vehicle.

Cell Phone GPS

Basically, cell phones connect to a “cell”, as the name suggests. The mobile operator will always know the “cell site” of the user, providing a rough idea of their location. Mobile networks know the distance the user is from a cell tower and can use the data from other towers nearby to “triangulate” the location of the person.

The appearance of high-speed communication technology like 3G and 4G has resulted in locating people even easier and more accurately.

GPS tracking technology is helpful, especially in combination with cell tower triangulation. And you can transform your cell phone into a personal locator through Mobile Phone locate card.

When law enforcement is searching for a missing person, they’ll frequently request a “tower dump” from the network providers to log and track the serial number of each phone. These logs maintain passive information so they can still track the phone regardless of it making a call or not.

Vehicle GPS

Vehicle GPS tracking systems can also be helpful in finding missing people, according to local police departments.

In fact, according to Lt. Jose Cano of the Weslaco Police Department, finding a missing person is much simpler if they can trace the car that person is believed to be in. They simply use the “parked location” icon to open up a GPS map. They then press “locate vehicle” and from that point on, the satellite takes over literally locating the vehicle and displaying a blue dot where the vehicle is. It will even display a physical address on the GPS screen as well

Thanks to highly sophisticated dedicated GPS tracking devices, there’s more hope than ever to locate missing persons.

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