In a study entitled National Center for Health Statistics, 255 children aged one through nineteen died from influenza and pneumonia, 452 died from heart disease, 1,921 committed suicide and 11,560 died of accidental injuries. In other words, a child was 2 times more likely to die of influenza or pneumonia, 4 times more likely to die of heart disease, 17 times more likely to commit suicide and 100 times more likely to die of an accidental injury than to become a victim of a ‘stereotypical type’ of abduction. Whilst the odds of a child being ‘stereotypically’ abducted are 1 in 610,000, the odds of dying in an airplane crash in any given year are 1 in 310,000 (two times more likely), the odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 240,000 (2.5 times more likely) and the odds of a pedestrian being killed by an automobile are 1 in 47,000 (13 times more likely).
These statistics show us two things. Firstly, if we are really serious about stopping child abductions, we need to examine the most common group of perpetrators: family members. Of the 69,000 child abductions that occurred in 1999, 82% were perpetrated by family members. Another 11.3% were committed by friends of the family or other people well known to the children. It seems apparent then, that measures need to be taken to prevent family abduction, which is, by far, a more serious problem than stranger abduction.