|Stranger perpetrators are predominately males (95 percent) and predominately adults (90 percent) (figures 2 and 3). Acquaintance kidnaping has the largest proportion of juvenile offenders (30 percent) and a somewhat higher percentage of female offenders than stranger kidnaping (16 percent and 5 percent, respectively). Data from the NIBRS jurisdictions provide limited information about the characteristics of some offenders in the acquaintance category. Eighteen percent are categorized as boyfriend, which suggests a quite distinct dynamic, whereas two other subdivisions—friend (7 percent) and acquaintance (73 percent)—although more ambiguous, suggest different degrees of intimacy or familiarity.
Family perpetrators kidnap males and females in approximately equal proportions (figure 3). Acquaintance perpetrators kidnap substantially more females than males (72 percent and 28 percent, respectively). Stranger perpetrators also kidnap more females than males but not quite so disproportionately as acquaintances (64 percent and 36 percent, respectively).
The three categories of kidnaping also have distinct patterns with respect to the age of victims. In the NIBRS incident reports, family kidnaping has its peak occurrence for children under age 6 (43 percent), while a large majority of acquaintance kidnaping victimizes teenagers (youth ages 12 to 17) (71 percent). Stranger kidnaping is more equally split between teenage and elementary school-age victims (57 percent and 32 percent, respectively). However, the risks for children of different ages appear to have a complex interplay (figure 4). Children under the age of 6 are primarily targets of family kidnaping, which peaks at about age 2 and declines thereafter. The risk of kidnaping by a stranger is comparatively low for preschoolers but rises throughout the elementary school years and reaches its peak around age 15. Acquaintance kidnaping is the predominant problem for teenagers, displacing stranger kidnaping as their biggest threat.
NIBRS provides only crude data about the location of crimes, particularly a crime like kidnaping that may have an originating, intermediate, and destination locale (for example, a child taken from a street, driven in a car, brought into a residence, and then raped). NIBRS allows multiple-location coding for multiple-offense crimes, but only 1 percent of incidents involving kidnaping have multiple locations recorded in NIBRS data. The information on location does, however, show clear-cut associations between the offender’s relationship to the victim and the location of the kidnaping.
In the NIBRS jurisdictions, family kidnaping, consistent with the stereotype, is associated primarily with homes and residences (84 percent) (figure 5). Stranger kidnaping, by contrast, is associated primarily with outdoor locations (58 percent)—streets, highways, parks, waterways, and other public areas. Like family kidnaping, most acquaintance kidnaping takes place at homes and residences (63 percent), but unlike family kidnaping, a substantial percentage of acquaintance kidnaping also occurs in outside locations (22 percent). It is important to note that schools are an unusual site for abduction, even family abduction (only 5 percent of family, 4 percent of acquaintance, and 3 percent of stranger kidnaping occur at school).
In other studies, nonfamily kidnaping is generally associated with other offenses, such as robbery or sexual assault, and is in fact a means of facilitating those offenses. One advantage of NIBRS over UCR is its ability to code multiple crimes associated with a single incident. Overall, 19 percent of the juvenile kidnaping reported in NIBRS jurisdictions is associated with another violent crime. This makes it the most common crime to be paired with an additional offense. These additional offenses provide some perspective on the motives of kidnaping offenders.
Most additional offenses associated with kidnaping occur in conjunction with acquaintance and stranger kidnaping, but the types of offenses vary somewhat according to the gender of the victim (figure 6). For female victims, sex crimes were the predominant adjunct to kidnaping, occurring in 23 percent of the kidnapings by acquaintances and 14 percent of the kidnapings by strangers reported to NIBRS in 1997. For male victims, robbery and assault were the additional offenses most likely to accompany kidnaping, although some sex offenses also occurred.
Family kidnaping tends not to be associated with any other crime. In this type of kidnaping, none of the offenses against boys and only 5 percent of the offenses against girls were linked to an additional violent crime.
For the most part in NIBRS jurisdictions, kidnaping is a weaponless crime (figure 7). Approximately 14 percent of acquaintance kidnapings and about 23 percent of stranger abductions involved weapons, mostly guns. The use of weapons in family abductions was quite rare (less than 2 percent).
Leave a Reply