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Police commander provides facts, dispels social media rumors about DC missing teens

D.C. police commander speaks out about missing teens. (ABC7)

Awareness to the number of missing teens in the Nation's Capital has been growing and even receiving national attention, but has there really been an increase in that number?

According to D.C. Commander Chanel Dickerson, the new leader of Investigative Services Bureau, Youth and Family Services Division, there has not been an increase, but rather a decrease.

"Actually it's a decrease. But when we talk about numbers, I'm not trying to minimize when I say there's not an up-tick or there's been a decrease. It's just that we wanted to be transparent and input it out so everyone can see. For the past five years - and I said during the press conference - that we had over 19,000 missing person cases that we investigated and only 16 of those are open. But one missing person in the District of Columbia is one person too many," Commander Dickerson said.

Social media is being used more frequently as an effective tool in locating missing teens and more alerts are sent out than they were in the past, according to Commander Dickerson.

Commander Dickerson also reports that a large percentage of the missing teens are leaving home voluntarily before returning home on their own accord or being located shortly after.

Dickerson hosted a Facebook Live Friday afternoon about the issue as well:

Here a few facts and stats from MPD:

  • A critical missing person is defined as younger than 15 and older than 65
  • 95% of cases in 2017 have been solved
  • There has not been an uptick in human trafficking
  • Missing person cases have been declining
  • There have been 708 missing persons cases so far in 2017 -- 674 have been solved
  • Most cases occur when teens or adults doesn't check in at work or school
  • Social media is now used for all "critical" missing persons


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