Cheyenne Police: Runaway Rates Remain Consistent Despite Rise in Facebook Posts
Despite an increase in Facebook posts involving juvenile runaways, Cheyenne police say the numbers have remained consistent annually.
The department received 115 reports of runaway juveniles in 2020, and has seen 56 runaway cases so far this year.
"It is the policy of the CPD to thoroughly investigate all reports of runaway juveniles and missing persons," said Chief Mark Francisco. "Social media has been a very effective tool allowing us to locate missing juveniles as quickly as possible during a time where they may be vulnerable."
Police say minors run away for complex reasons, including everything from abuse and family conflict to pregnancy and online enticement, and it is important to understand the definitions surrounding these issues.
"When a juvenile runs away, they have left home or a court-ordered facility without the permission of parents or legal guardian,” explained Juvenile Diversion Officer Allen. “Kidnapping, on the other hand, is the physical taking or removal of a person from his or her home by the use of force, fraud, or coercion.”
Police say kidnappings by strangers on the street or online are rare in Cheyenne, and usually committed by a person the child knows, such as a relative without custody.
The department hasn't seen any kidnapping cases this year, and saw only one last year which involved interference with custody.
If a child’s whereabouts are unknown, police recommend the following immediate steps:
- Conduct a preliminary search for the child.
- Contact law enforcement to report the child missing.
- Call the child’s friends, school, relatives or anyone else who may have information regarding his/her whereabouts.
- Check places the child likes to spend time, including shopping centers, parks, athletic facilities, clubs and neighborhoods.
- Share the child’s picture on social media or pass out flyers with the child’s picture.
“We want to thank the public for their engagement on our social media channels regarding this issue,” said Francisco. “Our community partnerships play an important role in keeping the citizens of Cheyenne safe.”