San Diego, California - As National Missing Children’s Day (May 25) approaches, the FBI would like to remind the public that every year thousands of children become victims of crime. The FBI’s mission to combat violent crimes against children stresses the importance of keeping our children safe using a strategy involving decreasing the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation; developing a nationwide capacity to provide a rapid, effective, and measured investigation; and to work closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners through investigative programs, investigative assistance, and task force operations.

The impact the abduction of a child has on a family and community is often devastating. At the end of year 2013, the FBI’s National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) database contained 33,849 active missing person records for juveniles under the age of 18, while 9,706 juveniles between the ages of 18 and 20 years of age were reported missing. These numbers account for 40.2 percent and 11.5 percent of the total 84,136 active missing person records at the end of last year.

In 2013, FBI San Diego, along with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, worked together to bring an abducted child safely back home to San Diego. On May 7, 2014, FBI Director James Comey congratulated the FBI employees—along with all the law enforcement partners they worked with—for their outstanding efforts on the safe recovery of the abducted child at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) Congressional Breakfast and Law Enforcement Recognition Program. During the ceremony, Director Comey stressed the importance of private sector partners, such as the FBI’s partnership with NCMEC, in combating the crimes against children epidemic.

The FBI has also developed and implemented its own programs and technologies to aide in investigative efforts against crimes against children. In 2006, the FBI created the national Child Abduction Response Deployment (CARD) team to provide rapid and specialized resources to recover victims as quickly as possible. CARD is composed of approximately 60 agents stationed at field offices around the country. The agents selected for the CARD team are seasoned veterans specializing on crimes against children cases, especially child abductions. Since its inception, the CARD team has been deployed more than 100 times for approximately 108 victims.

The FBI also provides a free Child ID App available to iPhone and Android users. The FBI’s Child ID App is a convenient tool for storing photos and vital information about your child. The app provides an easy, at your fingertips way to update photos or information. With the FBI’s Child ID App, users can show pictures and provide physical identifiers such as height and weight to security personnel or police officers on the spot. A special tab on the app also allows you to quickly and easily e-mail information to authorities with only a few clicks. The app also includes tips on keeping children safe as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing. To learn more about the FBI’s Child ID App, contact FBI San Diego’s Community Outreach Program at (858) 320-1800 or view the related video.

In observance of May 25, National Missing Children’s Day, NCMEC has again launched its yearly Take 25 campaign. The Take 25 pledge asks families, educators, law enforcement officers, and trusted adults to take 25 minutes to talk about safety with children. The annual event is also another tool to help raise awareness of the threat of child abductions, inform families about ways to keep their children safe, offer support to the family of victims, and combat crimes against children. Sign up to take the pledge and Take 25 to talk to your children about staying safe.