Why, according to criminology experts, are the first 72 hours of a missing person inquiry the most critical? After the first few days of the inquiry, the number of leads starts to decrease. Criminologists say that your chance of finding the person alive drops off dramatically after the first month.
Typically, police will first try to locate the person through public records such as driver's license listings and social security administration records. If no lead comes from these sources, the investigation will turn to questioning family members, friends, and co-workers. Sometimes police will even put up fliers with photos of the missing person.
If no information can be obtained from these sources, then police will begin to get worried about where they might have gone. Possible locations include jail or prison, the hospital, or even another country. Police departments use computer databases to check on people who have been reported missing in case they fall into trouble somewhere else in the world.
As time passes, there is a decreasing chance that the person will be found alive. With each day that goes by, the odds of finding the person drop off significantly.
The average age of a missing person is 44 years old. The majority of those individuals are men who have been identified as American citizens.
The search for a missing individual begins the minute someone worried about his or her safety contacts law police. According to criminology specialists questioned by ABC News, investigators are basically working against the clock, since each passing hour reduces the possibility that the subject will be located. On average, they say, cases are found within 24 hours, but sometimes it can take weeks or months.
Based on statistics from the FBI's Crime Statistics Bureau, the median time between when a person last was seen and when he or she was actually reported missing was 15 days. However, some people are never found while others are still being looked for after many years.
Using this information, we can estimate that half of all missing persons cases are found within 15 days and half are not found until later. This means that about 30 percent of cases may take more than 15 days to locate them.
For children under 11 years old, the average length of time that they are missing before they are found is 21 hours. For those aged 12-17, it is 17 hours. And for adults, it is 10 hours.
The majority of missing persons are discovered or returned within the first several days. If a person is missing for more than a few days, the police inquiry will be altered. Learn what occurs when a person is absent for longer than a few days.
Generally, the first thing that happens if a person goes missing is that the police report them as lost. They will begin by talking to family members and friends to find out where they might have gone and who might know something about them. If they do not hear from the person after a couple of weeks the police may start to get worried and begin to search for them.
Usually, the police will start with small areas near where they last were seen or heard from. For example, if a person went missing in London then the police would start by searching in the area around their home or place of work. If they still can't be found after a month the police may put up signs offering a reward for information about their whereabouts.
Sometimes people go missing for many years before being discovered. In this case, it is important to remember that they are not necessarily dead, just missing. It is possible that they may come back after all these years.
In conclusion, people who go missing usually are found within the first few days. If they are not then follow standard procedure until further notice.
Movies and television productions have perpetuated the misconception that you must wait 24 to 48 hours to report missing individuals, however this is not the case for practically every U.S. police department in the real world. Call your local law enforcement first, using their non-emergency number, to submit a report (you can also go into the police station to file). They will tell you what time limit you can set for yourself if you want to report missing persons later.
After submitting your report, check back with law enforcement every day until your friend or family member is found. If they post an arrest, you are not required to help find them guilty; you can still leave evidence at the scene.
Police departments use DNA samples from unidentified human remains to identify people who go missing.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has created a website where you can upload photos of missing people. It's called Find Me. The site allows users to create pages for each missing person and add details such as physical descriptions, age, gender, photos, and videos. Users can also write notes about their loved ones on the NCMEC site and be notified when new information becomes available.
If you don't want to use social media to search for missing people, there are other options. You can call up police blotters in local newspapers to see if anyone has been reported missing by friends or family members.
A frequent misperception is that a person must be gone for at least 24 hours before being legally classified as missing; however, this is rarely the case. Law enforcement authorities frequently emphasize the need of reporting a situation as soon as feasible. Doing so may help in locating the person sooner rather than later.
It is best to think of time as a factor, not an absolute. A person who has been missing for a few days is likely not going to turn up any time soon. But someone who has been missing for a week might be found if you checked with family members or friends every day. It's hard to say how long it would take without knowing how long they were away from home in the first place.
The most important thing is to give law enforcement officials a current description of the person's physical appearance. If necessary, ask them to estimate how long the person has been missing.
Missing persons reports can be made by calling 911 in the United States or 011-44-30-20-82-02 in Italy. You can also report cases via the International Missing Persons Database online form.