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There are 14 missing girls in the nation’s capitol.

Haley McCoy, Editorials Editor

      Social media has highlighted the plight of the missing girls in Washington D.C., claiming that 14 young girls went missing in a 24-hour span.

      This was an alarming figure, generating hashtags on Twitter and sparking a nationwide calling cry. However, the idea that there was a sudden spike in the number of missing girls, alarming and extreme, is a false claim. A large number of girls went missing in a short time period, yet the overall number of missing girls in Washington D.C. is down from recent years. What is new is the media attention that is focused on those who are missing and the importance of finding these girls.

      In 2016, 2,242 young people were reported missing, a figure that was slightly down from numbers provided in 2015. Bustle reports that there are four cases left unsolved from the years 2012 through 2016, but what is different about these recent cases is that 14 cases remain open and unsolved out of 527.

      The poignant part of this non-story that has erupted from Washington D.C. is that all 14 of the girls who have recently gone missing are black. Many claim that if even one white girl had gone missing, there would have been a much larger and more noticed story. Some say this disparity lies in the criteria to qualify for an Amber Alert, which many of these missing juveniles apparently fail to meet. Others blame the young people who are missing, believing them to be runaways, individuals who do not want to be found.

      Still, the story from Washington D.C. is not out of the ordinary, no matter how horrible the numbers are. The simple fact of the matter is that there is a huge racial divide in those who are missing nationwide. 35% of missing children are black and 20% are Latino, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That in itself is a horrendous figure, but it shows that Washington D.C. is not an anomaly.

      Finding the missing girls in Washington must be a priority, as even one missing child is too many, but the outcry that arose from these circumstances did not see the whole picture of the situation. 14 missing girls is 14 too many, but the facts about these cases are not extraordinary or being ignored. The New York Times reports that Washington will put more officers on these cases to appease the public, but this is nothing the city hasn’t seen before.

      So yes, 14 black girls went missing in Washington D.C., but it’s nothing the city hasn’t seen before and it is expected to be resolved by the year’s end.