Why I am not Afraid of Kidnappers

A few days ago my kids were playing outside. They had been in our yard for about 20 minutes when I walked out the back door to check on them. As I did two women stepped off my front porch and came down the driveway to talk to me.

“We just thought you should know that your kid was riding their bike in the street.”

We live on a dead-end street. If we see more than 5 cars drive by, it’s a busy day. It is very normal for them to play outside without me while I clean up, write a blog post, or just enjoy some quiet. There are plenty of windows for me to check on them, and they know to come get me if they need help with anything. We ride bikes in the street most sunny days. I gave her the polite “and….?”face.

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I got this mom!

The woman then continued “You know people will walk right into your yard and snatch these beautiful children. You better be careful!” I was floored. I had prepped myself to explain why we weren’t afraid of cars. I kind a stuttered “yah wouldn’t want that.” then they gave me a religious pamphlet and were on their way.

Why is it that we as a society are so afraid of child snatchers?

Here are a few stats for you:

Number of children, age 2 – 14, killed in car accidents as passengers: 1300
Number of children killed each year by their family members and acquaintances: About 1000
Number of children abducted in “stereotypical kidnappings” in 1999, (the most recent year for which we have statistics): 115.
Number of children killed by their abductor: About 50

(Read more at Free Range Kids Crime Statistics)

Your child is over 11 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than kidnapped. They are 26 times more likely to die in a car accident than they are to be murdered by a kidnapper. Why is it that we throw our kids in the car every day without a second thought, yet we are paralyzed with fear over the thought of them being kidnapped? They are 20 times more likely to be killed by you or another family member than killed by a kidnapper. I bet you still ask your family to babysit and trust your spouse with your kids.

Statistically my husband and I are bigger threats to our children than kidnappers. There’s a reason they investigate the family first when a kid goes missing.

So what about the ~800,000 children reported missing every year? Well most of those are either teen runaways, believed lost due to inadequate communication and found quickly, or abducted by a family member. This means that stereotypical kidnapping represents only one hundredth of one percent of missing children! Your child is FAR more likely to run away than be kidnapped. I bet you still let them go to their friends houses.

That number is old you say, it’s probably rising, right? Nope, quite the opposite. Between 1997 and 2011 the FBI reported a 31% decline in missing children’s cases. The numbers on all other crimes against children have been dropping as well.  (5 Myths About Missing Children)

I refuse to live in fear, or teach my children to be afraid. I teach them caution. I teach them boundaries. I teach them when to run and yell for mom, but I will not keep them indoors on the ridiculously slim chance that the boogeyman is going to snatch them out of my yard while they play. I arm myself with facts to keep the fears at bay and let them be free.

What do you do to combat the fears of motherhood? What other fears do you have for your children?