As of Thursday, over a dozen District teenagers, ranging in age from 14 to 18—all Black or Hispanic—are missing.
NBC 4 News DC released an interactive map which shares information on the teens including their photos, their ages and the dates and locations where they were last seen. The outlet says the map will be updated daily.
On Wednesday night, a town hall-style meeting was held in predominantly-Black Southeast D.C., which was hosted by Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, according to Fox 5 DC.
Hundreds of people packed into the Excel Academy Public Charter School, and many others had to wait outside, where tensions and fear ran high about the recent spate of disappearances.
“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.”
Some members of the community reportedly shouted down officials, saying they were not doing enough. They called for more mental health services for youth as well as the lack of “Amber Alerts” for these missing cases.
Fox reports that the number of missing in Washington is not actually going up statistically, but because of a new program using social media instituted by Commander of DC Police Youth and Family division Chanel Dickerson, each missing case is being posted on social media. Dickerson took over the unit in late 2016.
“One child missing is one too many,” said Derrica Wilson, president of the Black and Missing Foundation. “It is not so much about the numbers. It is about the ones that are missing, what we can do to get them safe.”
Comedian and radio host D.L. Hughley tweeted earlier this week asking how NFL quarterback Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey has been found but many of these young women have not.
A good question.