Today is set aside to promote child safety
WINCHESTER — Today marks National Missing Children’s Day, and local police are calling on parents and guardians to talk to their sons and daughters about safety.
First recognized in 1983, the day serves as an annual reminder that thousands of children are l missing, and stresses the importance of making child protection a national priority.
According to a Winchester Police Department media release, the Take 25 campaign is a national child-safety public awareness campaign created in 2007 by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
It encourages parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and ways to prevent abduction.
“Every day we hear stories about children who escaped a would-be abductor because someone talked to them about what they should do in that type of situation,” said John Ryan, chief executive officer of the NCMEC.
Three children are missing in Frederick County, according to the NCMEC website at www.missingkids.com/home:
Christian Trinidad-Jose, 16, was last seen June 21, 2012. He was wearing a black shirt, black shorts and black shoes. He might be in a green Chevrolet minivan. White with black hair and brown eyes, Christian is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs about 145 pounds.
Quada Lindsay, 15, was last seen March 31. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and jeans. He has a scar on the back of his head and is described as black, with black hair and brown eyes. He is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 135 pounds, according to the website.
David Vargas, 15, has been missing since May 17 and may still be in the area, according to the website. He is described as white, with brown hair and brown eyes, 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 135 pounds.
Each of the children is listed on the site as an “endangered runaway.”
City police spokeswoman Lauren Cummings said the term describes someone who has run away from home, and law enforcement officials fear for his or her safety.
According to statistics released by the NCMEC, about 800,000 children are reported missing every year.
Of that number, it is estimated that 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 by non-family members.
Each year, officials believe, 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions — they are taken by non-family members and either murdered, ransomed or abducted with the intent to keep.
“Education and open communication are key to keeping children safer. Take 25 minutes and talk to your child,” Ryan emphasized in the release.
An analysis of attempted abductions by NCMEC found that in 84 percent of cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through her or his own actions.
“Teaching children about safety works,” the release states. “It saves lives.”
The NCMEC is a nonprofit organization established in 1984. It is the leading nonprofit organization that deals with the issues of missing children and sexual exploitation of children, according to the release.
— Contact Melissa Boughton email@example.com