Estimating the risk faced by missing persons: a study of homicide victims as an example of an outcome-based approach

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Each year the police receive a large number of reports of missing persons. They are faced with the immediate task of identifying those people likely to have come to harm, in particular those who have been the victim of homicide. Whilst recognising the inherent difficulty in identifying such a small sub-set of homicide victims within the overall number of reports of missing persons, this paper outlines how estimating the risk faced by different groups of missing persons to different outcomes can improve the police service's response to missing persons. The findings are based on an analysis of a sample of homicide cases which first came to the attention of the police as missing person reports. Specifically, females — both adults as well as children — face a relatively higher risk of being the victim of homicide when reported missing. Whilst the availability of sufficient data poses an immediate limit to further research of this type, the paper demonstrates how similar risk estimations can be made for other potential outcomes of going missing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Police Science & Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004

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