Auburn, Ala. – The Auburn Police Division (APD) will host child safety activities in observance of National Missing Children’s Day on Saturday, May 25 from 9-11 a.m. at the Boykin Community Center, 400 Boykin Street. APD is hosting the event in partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to stress the importance of preventing child abduction and promote the “Take 25” initiative. Parents and children will have the opportunity to speak directly to police officers about precautions that help prevent child abduction. Participants may fill out child identification kits, pick up safety literature, and interact with Auburn University mascot, “Aubie.” Children may also register to win the grand door prize, an Auburn University football autographed by Coach Gus Malzahn.
National Missing Children’s Day has been observed annually on May 25 since 1983 when U.S. President Ronald Reagan first recognized its observance. The day serves as an annual reminder that thousands of children remain missing, and reinforces the importance of making child protection a national priority. Created in 2007, the “Take 25” campaign is a national child safety public awareness campaign implemented by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It encourages parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety measures that prevent abduction. The national campaign begins on May 1 and continues through May 25.
“We are fortunate to live in a small community where neighbors look after neighbors, but we still must be diligent in teaching our children how best to handle interactions with strangers,” said Auburn Police Lt. Jonathan Ley. “Our local event gives officers a chance to interact with children and their parents on a one-on-one basis and stress the importance of child safety.”
Each year, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing in America, which equates to approximately 2,000 each day. Of those annually reported missing, it is estimated that 200,000 are abducted by family members and approximately 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. In the most serious of circumstances, an estimated 115 children, annually, are the victims of being taken by non-family members who have the intent to either murder, ransom or abduct without return.
“Every day we hear stories about children who escaped a would-be abductor because someone talked to them about what they should do in that type of situation”, said NCMEC CEO John Ryan. “Education and open communication are key to keeping children safer. Take 25 minutes and talk to your child.”