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Bakersfield Police Department addresses the number of missing kids during the pandemic

BPD
Posted at 4:02 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 13:56:20-05

After multiple reports of missing children in Bakersfield, 23ABC decided to take a look at the numbers of cases here in town.

"It is a dangerous world for kids that don't have all the social skills or knowledge base to navigate things," according to Sergeant Robert Pair of the Bakersfield Police Department.

Within that dangerous world, police believe there's been an increase in community concern and help surrounding cases of missing and runaway children and teens.

Sgt. Pair said they can't confirm why the department has seen a significant decrease in runaways compared to 2019. "I know that a lot of people and school is just now getting back, maybe it is just because there's an increase in parental involvement in kids' lives," he said.

According to BPD, in 2019 there were 2,200 reported runaways. In 2020, that number is at 1,800.

"It's not a significant decrease but any lesser number on missing juveniles is a win," Pair added.

According to Pair, the police department sends out photos and information to the community if this is a child's first time running away, if they have pre-existing medical conditions or if there's no evidence of them intentionally running away and they are considered missing.

Pair also shared tips on how to keep your children safe, including monitoring their social media as well as communicating with them if you notice a difference in behavior.

"Time is of the essence when reporting kids as missing. We want to know as soon as possible, a lot of people think that there is a rule that you have to wait 48 hours, that is not the case. We want to know as soon as a kid is missing or as soon as someone has run away," said Pair.