What Does It Mean to “Locate a Person” vs “Find A Missing Person”

chicago pi locate personThe concept of trying to locate a person and finding a missing person tend to be interchangeable phrases in the media and through modern society. But the terms are quite different and can be worlds apart regarding urgency and danger levels. In both cases, you may simply be dealing with someone who doesn’t want to be found. But what do they mean, how do they differ, and how can the right Chicago private investigator help?

Who Can be Located?

Locating a person is just that-finding where someone lives, what they’re doing professionally, who they’re connected or married to, and other information specifically about an individual for personal or professional needs. You can locate just about anyone nowadays: an old neighbor, a coworker, your ex-boyfriend from high school, your old neighbor’s coworker’s ex-boyfriend from high school… the list goes on. Of course “locating” that person doesn’t mean they’re missing.

You may simply miss that person, want to reconnect, happen to be curious if they ever moved out of your hometown, or be itching to know if your ex-best friend and her obnoxiously clingy college beau who hit on you that one time at a frat party ever made it down the aisle (or how long they’ve been divorced). On the serious end, you may also find yourself needing to track down your ex for child support or need to verify the legitimacy of someone’s legal claim against your business. Locator software, the right PI, or even the right few Google clicks can help you find just about anyone, even someone who doesn’t want to be found.

What Is a Missing Person?

A missing person is defined as anyone whose location is unknown regardless of the reason for their disappearance. The missing person label will remain intact until the person is located or their safety is proven. There were over 543,000 reported missing persons across the US in 2020 which is the lowest number in 30 years. The majority of missing persons are children and adults under the age of 21. The first 72 hours of discovering a loved one is missing are the most important since trails go cold quickly.

Why Don’t the Police Do More?

Well, here’s the thing, police departments are backed up and the majority of missing persons are those who choose to disappear for whatever reason at the time and that definitely includes runaways. Yes, there are cases where adults and children are abducted and unwillingly transported or put in danger, and those are always prioritized. But most police stations already have a handful or stack of cases they’re working on, so your call may need to wait a day or so before they even look at it to see how important it really is.

The FBI database listed 365,000 reported missing children in 2020 alone, although many others are never reported for many reasons. Over 91% of those kids opted to run away. Whether they return in an hour or they cross the state line, each minute they’re away can seem like an eternity to a worried parent or loved one. Fortunately, a Chicago private investigator doesn’t have the time constricts and red tape issues associated with local police departments. Whether you’re looking to locate someone you’ve lost track of in the past or in desperate need to bring a loved one home, give us a call to save precious time and headaches.