Saturday, September 12, 2009

Abductions are Rare. Kidnappings are Very Rare.

To follow up on Atrios's response to concerned parents, child fatalities in car crashes are significantly more common than stranger kidnappings. In 2002, the DOJ estimates that there were approximately 115 "stereotypical kidnappings". Now, "kidnapping" is narrowly defined to mean holding the child overnight and/or transporting them 50 miles or more and/or ransoming/assaulting/killing them. Obviously having your eleven-year old whisked into a van, molested, and then put back on the street is something parents would be rightly concerned about. But among juvenile victims, a stranger perpetrates sexual assault in just seven percent of all cases. As best I can do the math on this, a child's odds of being sexually assaulted by a stranger are about the same as their odds of being killed in a car crash. To be sure, both of these are bad, but one of them is much worse.

4 comments:

Aaron said...

2 small corrections. First, the DOJ report studied the year 1999, not 2002 (when the study was published). Second, a stereotypical kidnapping wasn't defined as including only assault, otherwise the number would be far, far larger.

Also, given that there were more than 29,000 cases of sexual assault by non-family members, I can see some cause for concern. I do think people overreact to news stories, but I also don't think younger children see a big line between acquaintance and friend.

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

The study goes on at length about how its estimate of abductions (including abductions leading to sexual assaults) is extremely unreliable. The 2nd survey, from DoJ, gives a number around 8400 sexual assaults of juveniles by strangers.

Aaron said...

Maybe I'm just stupid, but I'm not sure which section of the study you are talking about. Mostly I see quotes like this one: "The NISMART–2 results reinforce the generally well
known fact that sexual assault is the motive for a considerable
percentage of nonfamily abductions."

Also, I think you missed my point. I was pointing out the high number of non-family (including but more than just strangers) member assaults. From the numbers I had thought it was about 2,300 by strangers.

om dataentry said...

Also, I think you missed my point. I was pointing out the high number of non-family (including but more than just strangers) member assaults. From the numbers I had thought it was about 2,300 by strangers.

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