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Kidnaping of Juveniles: Patterns From NIBRS

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2000
8 pages
This Bulletin describes the offense of kidnapping of juveniles (ages 17 and younger), using the 1997 National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).
An analysis of data on 1,214 juvenile kidnappings from the jurisdictions in 12 States that participated in NIBRS in 1997 shows that kidnapping composes less than 2 percent of all violent crimes against juveniles reported to police. Based on the identity of the perpetrator, there are three distinct types of kidnapping: kidnapping by a relative of the victims or "family kidnapping" (49 percent); kidnapping by an acquaintance of the victims or "acquaintance kidnapping" (27 percent); and kidnapping by a stranger to the victims or "stranger kidnapping" (24 percent). "Family kidnapping" is committed primarily by parents, involves a larger percentage of female perpetrators (43 percent) than other types of kidnapping offenses, occurs more often to children under 6 years old, equally victimizes juveniles of both sexes, and most often originates in the home. Acquaintance kidnapping involves a comparatively high percentage of juvenile perpetrators, has the largest percentage of female and teenage victims, is more often associated with other crimes (especially sexual and physical assault), occurs at homes and residences, and has the highest percentage of injured victims. Stranger kidnapping victimizes more females than males, occurs primarily at outdoor locations, victimizes both teenagers and school-age children, is associated with sexual assaults in the case of girl victims and robberies in the case of boy victims, and is the type of kidnapping most likely to involve the use of a firearm. Relatively little kidnapping involves weapons; and only one death and a few major injuries were associated with juvenile kidnapping reported to NIBRS. NIBRS data from the jurisdictions reporting in 1997 suggest that the current practice of differentiating the crime of kidnapping into only two categories (family and non-family) needs to be changed to distinguish acquaintance kidnapping from stranger kidnapping. 9 figures, 1 table, and 13 references

Date Published: July 1, 2000