A wake-up call for all of Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Last week the citizens of Suffolk, who have children, received a wake-up call in the form of a newspaper report. This paper and other media outlets worldwide published the gruesome facts of abduction and murder of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia. A reported auto mechanic, with a lengthy arrest record has been charged in the crime.

The loss of any life, especially one so young, is a horrible reminder of the evil that mankind is capable of inflicting on itself. But even more critical this case needs to serve as a foundation for parents to sit down with their children and discuss personal safety.

According to the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children the problem of missing or abduction children is both incredibly complex and multifaceted. The Center reports on their Web site that &uot;there are different types of missing children including family abductions; endangered runaways; non-family abductions; and lost, injured, or otherwise missing children.&uot;

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To date two such studies have been completed on the issue of missing children. The first the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-1) was released in 1990, and the second, known as NISMART-2, was released in October 2002. According to NISMART-2 research, which studied the year 1999, an estimated 797,500 children were reported missing; 58,200 children were abducted by non-family members; 115 children were the victims of the most serious, long-term non-family abductions called &uot;stereotypical kidnappings&uot;; and 203,900 children were the victims of family abductions. &uot;

These numbers are staggering. They also illustrate, especially when viewed in the context of the most recent abduction, as a foundation for serious direct discussions with children, who need to understand that there are people in the world who wish to do harm.

If you haven’t discussed the issue of abduction and self-protection with your children, regardless of how difficult it may be, take the time to act now. Countless resources are available to facilitate a discussion and protective measures, both online or in the library. Simple ideas like traveling in pairs, or having a secret family code word to determine intent all will help make abduction more difficult. We urge all our readers to make time for such a discussion…it may save your child’s life.