Washington D.C. (PPN) – Mayor Bowser made an announcement Friday that the nation’s capital will create new initiatives for missing teens after 14 Black and Hispanic girls ranging between ages 14 to 18 were reported missing.
According to the Washington Post, Bowser will increase the number of police officers assigned to find missing children and establish a task force to determine what social services teenagers who run away need to stabilize their home lives.
Information on these teens including their photos, ages, and the dates and locations where they were last seen can be found on an interactive map released by NBC 4 News DC.
“The difficult thing is some of these kids do go missing multiple times,” said Acting Police Chief Peter Newsham. “When they go missing, guess what? You have a child out there and there are people in our community that will prey on those children.”
The city would also allocate more money to nonprofit organizations that work with vulnerable teenagers.
Mayor Bowser office said the goal is to ensure that city agencies work together to protect children and that the onus does not fall solely on the police department.
Deborah Shore, founder of the Sasha Bruce Youth Network, has been working with homeless and displaced young people in the District for more than 40 years. She said her organization has seen a slight uptick this year in young people reaching out to their hotline or visiting their drop-in centers.
“We are a city of many disparities,” Shore said. “Young people who don’t have a lot of resources and are in a situation that is unstable, they are pretty vulnerable.”
Hundreds of citizens in the predominantly Black Southeast D.C. area packed into Excel Academy Public Charter School, others had to wait outside for the town meeting this week.. Tensions and fear ran high about the recent spate of disappearances.