Whether it’s the national statistics you’re looking at, or just what’s happening right here at home, the issues surrounding kids running away from home are frightening.National Statistics:
- 2.8 million teens run away from home each year
- 1.6 million teens slept on the street in the past 12 months
- Most are between the ages of 15 and 17
- 1 in 3 will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours of running
- The GJPD handled 230 runaway cases in 2009
- 36 of those were habitual runners
- The youngest runner so far this year was 12 years old
- Female runners often become victims of sexual assault or are caught with sex offenders
There are a number of reasons they run, ranging from issues at school, family problems, abuse, threats to their safety, and drug and alcohol abuse. There is only one thing they and their families need: help.
November is National Runaway Prevention Month, and the GJPD is using this occasion to bring awareness to these troubling statistics and provide support for our local kids. You can do the same, and it won’t cost you much more than a few minutes of your time.
- Get your kids involved and be a part of the GJPD Runaway Prevention Photo Contest. From November 1st through the 26th students in grades K-12 can submit photos that show how to prevent kids from running away. The photos will be displayed in the lobby and judged by GJPD employees. Winners will receive a prize. Non-returnable photos can be dropped off at the GJPD at 625 Ute Ave. Photos should be no larger than 8×10.
- Physically show your support by participating in the national Green Light Project and shine a green light at your home or business. Grand Junction City Hall will be doing this for the entire month starting this week.
- Learn about the wealth of resources available by stopping by the GJPD to pick up some brochures or by visiting our website. You can find a list of activities there and hear what several runaways have to say by watching a short but powerful video.
- Spread the word about a 24 hour national hotline available to both parents and kids: 1-800-RUNAWAY
Kids don’t belong on the streets. Even if they think they can cut it on their own they are still kids. We’ll do our part and continue working with runners, their families, and other local agencies to get them the help they need. We hope you will do what you can as well.