DC police address concerns over missing teens

WASHINGTON — The figure is startling — more than a dozen black and Latina teens have been reported missing in D.C. since March 1.

The apparent jump in the number of missing young people in the District has raised concern in neighborhoods and on social media.

Teen Vogue’s headline: “Most media outlets aren’t reporting on the disappearance of Black and Latinx D.C. teens.” Vibe’s report: “10 Black and Latinx teens missing in D.C. and the media is silent.”

Actually, what’s happening is D.C. police are now acknowledging a continuing problem.

In fact, D.C. police sources say there has actually been a decrease in missing persons reports over the last several years.

And, there is no evidence to suggest that the missing children are connected or part of a human trafficking group, police said.

Chanel Dickerson, the new commander of the D.C. police Youth and Family Services Division has made publicizing missing persons cases a priority, both to get the public’s health and to demonstrate the department’s commitment to service for all people.

Several of the young people who were reported missing in March have now returned home, unharmed.

Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, says the effort is a strong first step.

“Getting the information out there is great,” Wilson said. “There’s something clearly going on, and we really have to identify what the issues are.”

“If they’re running away, we need to find out what the underlying issue is, for them leaving the home,” Wilson said. “And we need to find them, because the world is cold out there.”

Teenage girls reported missing in March in the District (who have not already returned safely):

The missing teenage boys are:

 

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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