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The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) will soon begin outreach to more than 4000 law enforcement agencies for assistance in updating and expanding data and analysis on stranger abductions of children. This effort – the Law Enforcement Survey of Stereotypical Kidnapping – will update the last systematic count which took place in 2011. It is part of the National Incidence Study of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway children (NISMART), a series of studies that extends back to 1988.

As part of the study, brief questionnaires will go out this summer requesting law enforcement agencies to check records for abductions by strangers or slight acquaintances for the year 2019. The study is being conducted by researchers at Westat and the University of New Hampshire, and will provide updated information about perpetrator characteristics, where children were taken, how many children were recovered, and the use of technology in the crime and in its resolution. Results are expected in 2021. For more information on this important area of NISMART research, visit