Persons are considered missing if their whereabouts are unknown and for whom a danger to life or limb can be assumed. The number of missing minors has increased compared to the previous year.
Berlin – More minors are missing in Germany than a year ago. And although the identification of refugee children by fingerprint is now easier than it was a year ago, there has also been an increase in the number of missing young refugees.
At the beginning of December, according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), 4763 minors were missing nationwide: 1604 children and 3159 young people. In 2020, 4433 minors were registered as missing on the same reference date.
Missing minors include children and young people who regularly leave – mostly from youth facilities – and then reappear after a short period of time. This category also includes minors who have been wrongly deprived of one of their parents. The clearance rate for cases in which children are missing is generally high at over 90 percent. However, this rate is lower for underage refugees. This is partly due to the fact that some young people from this group leave the country – without notifying the German authorities – to live with relatives in another EU country, for example.
Only three percent missing for more than a year
According to the experience of the police, around half of all missing persons can be resolved within the first week. According to police statistics, the proportion of minors and adults who have been missing for more than a year is three percent.
According to the BKA, 1736 young refugees were searched for at the beginning of the month. A year earlier there were around 1,600 refugees who were registered missing. Since April 2021, it has been possible to take fingerprints for identification purposes, even from children aged six and over. Previously, this was only permitted for people over the age of 14.
People are considered missing if they have left their usual circle of life, their whereabouts are unknown and a danger to life or limb can be assumed for them. This means that they may have been the victim of a crime or there may be an accident, helplessness or suicide. If minors suddenly disappear, the investigators initially assume there is a risk to life or limb. dpa