Missing: When each case is one too many

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

When a missing person is reported to the press, Luxembourg knows all about it. Few people are aware that the disappearance of a person triggers a strictly regulated procedure. Moreover, not everyone wants to be found. A conversation with the criminal investigation department.

Back in the days, you had to open a newspaper; today push notifications, news portals, radio stations and posts on social media inform you about people who are reported missing. This could easily give the impression that more people are disappearing than usual. Especially during the first year of the pandemic, it was not uncommon for comments under the relevant press articles to read as follows: "Another person missing, it's getting worse" or "What's going on? So many children reported missing in such a short time, something is wrong".

More thematized, more mediatized

This would be more of a subjective impression due to a few reasons, because the figures of the judiciary do not take into account this perception at all. In 2020, 441 cases of disturbing disappearances ("disparitions inquiétantes") of minors were counted, 182 for adults. So in total, there were 596 cases, compared to 675 a year earlier and 622 in 2018. The figures come from a joint parliamentary response by Minister of Justice Sam Tanson and Minister of Internal Security Henri Kox on April 23. This is also confirmed by Jeff Muller during the interview with the Lëtzebuerger Journal in the buildings of the criminal investigation department near the airport. "Based on the information we have collected, we can not say that the number of missing person cases has increased significantly", says the head of the department "Criminalité contre les personnes" at the criminal investigation department. "It is much more thematized and mediatized because communication has also increased. A missing person report hardly passes anyone by these days. Most people who are active online know about it."

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Missing: When each case is one too many

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