Technology To The Rescue For Missing Kids

May 26, 2002 (08:05 PM EDT)

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Milk-carton photos of missing youngsters raised public awareness but did little to help find the children. These days, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports a success rate well above 90%--and credits IT for the improvement. A decade ago, the center resolved just six in 10 cases.

A recent example of IT in action is a $15 million program to give police departments Internet-enabled PCs with scanners for distributing missing kids' photos in minutes.

"Even half an hour can make a difference," says Rick Minicucci, the center's chief technology officer. Many kids taken by strangers are murdered within 24 hours.