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Data Analysis

Members from the Montana Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Justice began an in-depth review of missing persons in February 2020 with the intent to help law enforcement agencies locate missing persons, inform policymakers to craft better solutions, and help communities prevent people from going missing. The data included every missing person entry over a three-year period, 2017-2019, from the Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse. Additional records from the Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Child and Family Services Division (CFSD), and autopsy reports from the state crime laboratory were reviewed. Reports of missing persons were entered by 100 law enforcement agencies including sheriff’s offices, police departments, 911 centers, tribal police departments, and US BIA law enforcement.

  • 5,570 missing person entries were made to the Montana Missing Persons Clearinghouse (3 entries had coding errors, therefore the number of entries in the analysis is 5,567)
  • There were 3,254 unique individuals
  • 80.5% of the individuals were under the age of 18
  • Little significant difference between the number of females and males who go missing
  • 60% of the entries were tied to juveniles who went missing more than once
  • Juveniles went missing up to 21 times over the three-year period
  • Most people reported missing are found – 97.7%
  • Of the top 10 counties with missing persons per capita, three included reservations

For more information about the Montana Missing Persons Data Analysis Project, Phase 1, click here.

For more information about the data analysis, validation, and additional research by the Montana State University Statistical Consulting and Research Services, click here for the report.

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