Fewer missing persons thanks to corona crisis

There’s at least one bright side to the corona crisis: the number of reported missing persons is markedly down.  Usually the police missing persons’ unit receives between 975 and 1,200 reports of mispers every year.  With nearly eight months behind us only 373 new cases are being investigated today.

Peace and calm reigned at the offices of the missing persons’ unit during the lockdown.   Lockdown meant many things became impossible or more difficult.  So too going missing. 

Alain Remue: “The disappearance of people at risk, people suffering from dementia in care homes, was stopped in its tracks.  There were no more disappearances after a night out on the tiles either. The pubs and clubs were shut too.  It was clear ordinary life had come to a standstill.”

Since lockdown ended the number of mispers being reported is once again on the rise. 

“As normal life resumes, we see an increase in new dossiers” says Alain. 

Only time will tell whether numbers for 2020 will catch up or this will be a year with fewer disappearances.

“I hope this won’t be the case, but the impact the corona crisis is having on people could still become visible in other ways.”

Belgium’s federal police missing persons’ unit was set up 25 years ago at the time of the Dutroux child sex killings.  VRT TV will be screening a documentary series on its work starting 2 September.

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