Non-family Abductions & Attempts
Nonfamily Abductions

Overview

NCMEC receives reports of missing children that fall into one of five case types, including nonfamily abductions. A nonfamily abduction occurs when a child is taken by someone known, but not related, to the child, such as a neighbor or an online acquaintance, or by someone unknown to the child. Nonfamily abductions are the rarest type of case and make up only 1% of the missing children cases reported to NCMEC. 

Risk Factors

NCMEC collects information concerning attempted abductions of children by individuals unknown to the child.  Based on over ten years of data, NCMEC identified that:

  • Attempted abductions occur more often when a child is going to or from school or school-related activities  
  • School-age children are at greatest risk on school days before and after school (7-9 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.) and after dinner time (6-7 p.m.)
  • Attempted abductions most often occur on the street while kids are playing, walking, or riding bikes
  • Younger children are more likely to be playing or walking with a parent or an adult whereas school-age children are more likely to be walking alone or with peers. 
  • Attempted abductions of older children are more likely to involve a sexual component.

Children evaded abduction in a variety of ways, including:

  • Ignoring or refusing the abductor
  • Using a cellphone to threaten or intervene
  • Fighting back
  • Screaming and/or making noise
  • Another adult or child intervened
  • Abductor left the area or voluntarily released the child 

By the Numbers

What NCMEC is Doing About it

Preventing Abduction Through Education

NCMEC, in partnership with Honeywell, created the KidSmartz Personal Safety Program, a program that educates families about preventing abduction and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. The program teaches “The 4 Rules of Personal Safety”: using fun and engaging videos and activities.

Learn more about NCMEC’s Education and Prevention Resources.

The 4 Rules of Personal Safety

  • Check first
  • Take a friend
  • Tell people ‘No’
  • Tell a trusted adult

Learning from the Past

NCMEC’s Code Adam Program, created in memory of 6-year-old Adam Walsh who was abducted from a Florida department store, is now one of the largest child safety protocols being implemented in tens of thousands of establishments across the nation, providing critical guidance to employees on how to handle reports of missing children on the premises. 

Helping Recover Missing Children

Team Adam is a rapid response unit made up of former and retired law enforcement professionals which can be deployed directly to the scene of a child’s disappearance to offer assistance to investigators and families in cases of critically missing children.

Project Alert, similar to Team Adam, is a team of over 150 retired local, state, and federal law enforcement who donate their time and experience to assist law enforcement agencies with long term missing children cases.