Cleveland has reported an “alarming” increase in missing children reports this year, according to local police, after 27 children were reported missing in the city or its surrounding suburbs over a two-week span last month—though the available data makes it unclear how big of an increase it is over previous years.
Cleveland is experiencing an "alarming" uptick in missing children reports, according to local ... [+]
Newburgh Heights police chief John Majoy told Fox News he has “seen a lot more” missing person reports for children—anyone younger than 18—this year, adding it “seems like an extraordinary year.”
The Cleveland Police Department received 33 reports of missing children for all of May, including the 27 reported missing between May 2 and May 14.
Majoy expressed concern for the children because it is unlikely an Amber Alert will be issued, which is recommended if there is “reasonable belief” the child was abducted or if law enforcement believes the child is in “imminent danger,” according to the Justice Department.
Of the 15,555 children reported missing in Ohio last year, 14,940 were recovered by the end of the year, according to data published by Attorney General Dave Yost, as 8,525 were runaway cases and only five were abducted by strangers.
And a rough average of 200 children a month went missing in 2022 in Cuyahoga County (population 1.25 million), which includes Cleveland (population 368,000)—making it unclear how big of an increase there is in missing children.
Forbes has contacted the Cleveland Police Department for additional data.
“It’s a silent crime that happens right under our noses,” Majoy said, suggesting some children—which he said are most likely runaways—could “be in a drug house or farmed to prostitution or caught up in drug trafficking or gangs.”
2,395. That’s how many children were reported missing in Cuyahoga County last year, according to state data.
U.S. Marshals announced the recovery of 35 missing children from northern Ohio between March 1 and May 15 as part of its “Operation We Will Find You.” The missing children were located in Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Canton and Youngstown, though some were found as far as California, Arizona and West Virginia.
There is no reliable way to estimate how many children are missing in the U.S., as many children are never reported missing, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The FBI recorded 359,094 reports of missing children in 2022, an increase over the 337,195 recorded the previous year. The U.S. Marshals—which has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children—has suggested the U.S. is experiencing an “epidemic of missing children”—though the agency does not offer clear data on how it’s coming to that conclusion.