Why Are Black Children Going Missing In D.C.?

Why Are Black Children Going Missing In D.C.?
Washington, D.C., residents are calling for law enforcement to step up efforts in finding the city's missing children, who are mostly minorities.

If you go to the Washington, D.C., police department's Twitter page, you'll notice a ton of posts about people who've gone missing and that the majority of those people are minorities.

According to department statistics, more than 750 people have gone missing in the district since the start of the year, and more than 500 cases involve juveniles.

The department has said there isn't an uptick in missing person cases and, over the past few years, there's been a decline. But that doesn't seem to give solace to a community that feels that cases of missing children, specifically black girls, go underreported.

D.C. Police Youth and Family Services Commander Chanel Dickerson says many of those children who've gone missing walked away voluntarily and have since been found. But she adds there are deeper issues that need to be explored.

"We need to get to the bottom of why these young people feel that there's no other alternative but to leave home. And when they leave home, there's a danger that they could be victimized, mental health issues — my biggest concern is that they're not going to school," Dickerson said.

The National Center for Missing or Exploited Children reports that in 2016, 90 percent of missing children were endangered runaways. The other 10 percent includes family abductions, lost or injured children, or children who are critically missing, meaning they're at a higher risk of danger because of a mental or physical condition.

According to the Associated Press, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to investigate whether there's an underlying trend of missing children in Washington.