Government officials and law enforcement in Washington, D.C. are responding to social media hysteria surrounding missing girls reports.
D.C. officials blame social media for the increased public interest in runaways and other missing persons.
Responding to the thousands of tweets about missing girls, Commander Chanel Dickerson of the Youth and Family Services Division said:
“The number of missing persons reports has remained constant since 2014. What has changed is our way of getting that information out quickly and the tools that we are using to get that out."
The department's Twitter page apologized to the public for giving the false impression that a large group of girls have suddenly gone missing due to foul play.
"There isn't a spike in missing people in DC, we're just using social media more to help locate them. Sorry to alarm you," the department tweeted.
The department said the girls are runaways who have not returned home yet.
officials acknowledged D.C. has a runaway problem.
“The difficult thing is some of these kids do go missing multiple times,” said Acting Police Chief Peter Newsham. “When they go missing, guess what? You have a child out there and there are people in our community that will prey on those children.”