Head shot of Nursing and Health Sciences Lecturer Stephen J. Morewitz

Nursing and Health Sciences Lecturer Stephen J. Morewitz

Race a factor in how law enforcement responds to missing persons cases, says CSUEB scholar

  • August 20, 2012 5:00am

Nursing and Health Sciences Lecturer Stephen J. Morewitz presented his research on missing persons at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) in Denver, CO, on August 17.

His research titled, “Racial/Ethnic Differences among Missing-Unknown Persons: Law and Advocacy," indicates that a missing person’s race or ethnicity may predict how the legal/criminal justice and emergency health service systems respond to their missing status. Missing persons who are white (22.6%) are more likely to be classified as missing-unknown than African-Americans (17.7%) and Hispanics (11.5%) (Chi-Square=18.76, df=6, p<.005). These findings remained statistically significant after controlling for possible intervening factors, such as the unknown missing person’s age and gender.

Morewitz's research is part of the Missing Persons Project and based upon a random sample of 930 missing-persons reports that were filed between 1989 and 2012 and published in the North American Missing Persons Network (N.A.M.P.N) and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Web sites.

Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP) is an interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students interested in the application of critical, scientific, and humanistic perspectives to the study of vital social problems.

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