A 16-year-old girl abducted by four men in a car as she walked down a Bronx street with her mom on Monday night has admitted this was a hoax.
So first of all: Thank God. She’s safe. Not raped or murdered or trafficked.
Second of all: Hmm. While only a cynic would have said, “I’ll bet this is a hoax” when the Amber Alert went out, it starts to look pretty fishy in hindsight. How so? It is extremely rare for a child to be kidnapped by strangers, and even more rare when the child is with another person. (Read more about how crime statistics are actually lower right here.)
Kidnappings happen a lot more on Law & Order SVU than it does in real life. According to the Crimes Against Children Resource Center, 105 people under the age of 18 endured what’s called a “strereotypical kidnapping” in 2012, the most recent year for which we have the data. (And 92% of them made it back alive.)
Even though it was a hoax, it caused a lot of concern.
And for what? The girl’s family is from Honduras and the The New York Times reported that they were thinking of moving back—something Sanchez did not want to do. The Times also said that the girl mentioned something to the cops about her mom being “overprotective.”
If this was a ploy to make mom less overprotective, we’ll have to chalk it up as a fail.