The Missing Persons Center in Los Angeles speaks with the families of missing people on a daily basis and many of the people they speak to want to know what they could have done differently now that they have had to report a loved one missing.
Below is a quick reference guide provided by Law Olmstead, President & Founder of the center.
Reducing the number of missing people reported every year requires a collective effort from both individuals and society as a whole. Here are some steps that members of the general public can take to contribute to this cause:
- Stay connected with family and friends: Maintain strong connections with your loved ones, especially those who may be vulnerable or at risk. Regularly check in with them to ensure their well-being and safety.
- Educate yourself and others: Raise awareness about the issue of missing persons and educate yourself and others about the potential risks and preventive measures. Share information about local resources, organizations, and helplines dedicated to addressing missing persons cases.
- Report missing persons promptly: If you suspect someone is missing, report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the local police or the national missing persons helpline, as soon as possible. Provide as much detailed information as you can to aid in their search efforts.
- Participate in community watch programs: Engage in or support community watch programs that focus on neighborhood safety and awareness. These initiatives can help prevent crime and provide a network of support in case of emergencies.
- Support missing persons organizations: Contribute your time, resources, or donations to organizations that work to locate missing persons, support their families, and raise awareness about the issue. These organizations often provide critical services such as search and rescue operations, counseling, and advocacy.
- Share information responsibly: In cases where missing persons reports circulate on social media or other platforms, be cautious about sharing unverified information. False or misleading information can hinder investigations and cause unnecessary panic. Verify the credibility of the information before sharing it.
- Promote personal safety measures: Encourage personal safety measures within your community, such as teaching children about stranger danger, promoting responsible use of social media, and sharing tips for staying safe in various environments (e.g., walking alone at night, using public transportation).
- Support legislation and policies: Advocate for policies and legislation that enhance the response to missing persons cases, including the allocation of appropriate resources for search efforts, improved data collection, and the development of preventive measures.
- Stay informed about local missing persons cases: Stay updated about missing persons cases in your area through news outlets, social media, or community bulletin boards. Sharing relevant information and being vigilant can increase the chances of finding missing individuals.
Most important – Be proactive in emergency situations, If you witness a potential abduction or encounter a person in distress, report it to the authorities immediately. Your prompt action can make a significant difference in preventing harm and locating missing persons.
Remember, while individual efforts are crucial, addressing the issue of missing persons requires a comprehensive approach involving law enforcement agencies, support organizations, and society as a whole.
To learn more about how you can help combat the number of people reported missing each year, consider volunteering at the Missing Persons Center.