Social media causes increase in missing persons awareness

Dallon Lewis, [email protected]

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Awareness in the Monroe area for the amount of missing people has increased. If a person was to scour social media for a length of time, a missing persons report would make an appearance.

On average, Monroe missing persons’ cases are usually runaways 17 and below according to the University Police Department (UPD).

“College students are rarely accounted for missing persons reports,” UPD Lt. Jeremy Kent said.

Cases with older citizens with dementia and Alzheimer’s also find their way into reports at a slightly lower rate.  In spousal disputes, one parent might take the child which creates a child custody battle. Monroe Police Department typically track missing persons through one investigator.

Crime trends like a pattern of homicides or robberies have no correlation to people that go missing.

Tracking an increase in missing people is possible by checking open reports, however, on an annual basis, a case may be resolved rather quickly and will remain part of the statistic. A good example is if a child runs away from home and parents file a missing persons report only to recover the child later, but the report still exists.

Take into account the media’s involvement in public awareness. If media did not report on trafficking, missing people or even murders, most people wouldn’t be aware of them. A con of this, though, is that the public can be swayed to believe in things that have not been officially confirmed.

“Social media uses scare tactics revolving around missing people to incite fear,” Kent said.Students already have preconceived notions about police and how they handle their investigations.

“I personally believe that the police could try harder. If they looked at it from the parent’s standpoint, the amount of effort put into missing persons investigations would show results,” said Kameron Calvin, a freshman                                     kinesiology major.

From some citizen’s eyes, certain cases take priority over the other depending on specific factors and discretion. This also happens to be a factor of public perception, not to mention social media influence.