What the heck were you thinking?

Seriously, NCMEC, I am annoyed with you. Why on earth did you make those changes to your search page? It is like 90% less useful now. You used to be able to search by name, place of disappearance, date of disappearance, age, height and weight, hair, eyes, race, type of disappearance and where the kid might be. Now it’s just name, place of disappearance and date. And you’ve got a cookie or something that automatically sets the place to whatever state the viewer happens to be in, so if I want to search for kids missing from outside Indiana, I have to change it myself. And in the results, the kids’ middle names aren’t visible anymore. You have to Google their names to find ’em.

Why on earth would you do this? Mind you, I’ve raised my eyebrows before at some of the things you’ve done, but I understand you’ve got rules and stuff and have to comply with the wishes of those that fund you (re: the government). Did the government tell you to make a ludicrously dumbed-down search page? I’ve only been using it for the past few days and already it’s driving me crazy(er).

13 thoughts on “What the heck were you thinking?

  1. Peter Henderson March 21, 2013 / 11:57 am

    I agree,

    I have a NCMEC link in favorites. Now when I pull it up instead of a page where I can see new cases they highlight and the ability to search by state and sex I get a cover page that leads me nowhere.

    I frequently question there classifications but realize that’s based on what the reporting LE authority states and in the absence of obvious foul play all missing teens are listed as runaways. But still it was a starting point and now it is pretty much useless.

    • Meaghan March 21, 2013 / 12:02 pm

      Before this, my chief problem with them — and I am quoting directly from an NCMEC staff member — was that they were required to put on the posters the information listed in the NCIC, even if they knew for a fact that said info was incorrect. This accounts for a few obviously misspelled names there.

      • Peter Henderson March 21, 2013 / 1:00 pm

        My biggest grip is over the Endangered Runaway status even when investigators know the teens were lured away by pimps or predators.

        Slip out your bedroom window at night you are a runaway, meaning little or no news reports will be generated. Sometimes months or years will pass before the teens status is changed and by then, even if found alive, its to late.

        I know a number of mothers and fathers who put their life on hold to look for their daughters and could not get a single news organization to write about their child because they were called runaways. By the time the child was found or arrested, it was to late, they were already lost to the streets.

      • Meaghan March 21, 2013 / 1:27 pm

        If you’ve run away, you’ve run away. I think the real problem there is the media and people in general not realizing the dangers teen runaways are getting into.

        I came close to running away a few times when I was a kid. I was desperately unhappy at home. It was the lack of any other place to go that kept me there. That and the fact that I grew up in an extremely rural area where you have to drive for half an hour just to get a gallon of milk. In order to actually run away I would either have had to have somebody pick me up, or steal a car

  2. Princess Shantae March 21, 2013 / 2:53 pm

    I wrote them an email a couple weeks ago to complain about the new look. Its a mess and not easy to use at all. It looked much nicer the way it was.

    • Meaghan March 21, 2013 / 3:51 pm

      They still had the old search page available up until last week, and you could use it if you’d bookmarked the URL directly. But now it’s gone. Piss.

  3. Jan Z March 21, 2013 / 5:06 pm

    I was equally frustrated when I came upon NCMEC’s new “look”. I thought it was because something happened to my computer and everything reset with my passwords and stuff, so I kept messing with it. I have no idea how, but after a couple of hours, I got the regular page back. I wish I could tell you how I did it.

    • Meaghan March 21, 2013 / 5:10 pm

      Sweeeeet. I had a different URL bookmarked. I am glad for this but wonder how long it will stay.

  4. T.T. March 21, 2013 / 10:41 pm

    On a semi-similar note, does anyone what what the heck happened to NCMA and why???

  5. Audrey March 22, 2013 / 12:24 am

    Seriously. It’s AWFUL. Searching by date/location of disappearance is huge.
    I guess there’s always NamUs, but they don’t have a lot of the runaways, family abductions, etc. on there.

  6. Concerned citizen March 24, 2013 / 5:18 pm

    I agree with you on this, and I am so glad other people are voicing their concerns.

    I wrote them an email expressing my concerns about a week or so ago. I expressed how I found the site was difficult to use, and how it might be harmful to missing persons, in that LE may not be able to properly use it any more, and that it is vital to be able to quickly and effectively navigate these kinds of sites, because time is of great importance when a child could be in serious danger. Or just when a parent is suffering in agony, not knowing where their child is, or stopping a predator, before they damage more lives, and the lives of those connected to them. Every moment counts.

    If you are not able to navigate the site, it is almost as if the resource is not available at all.

    In the case, where somebody happens to cross the site by happenstance, or personal circumstances at the moment. If you can’t access the information you need, the opportunity could be lost forever. Would Carlina White still have found herself, if the site were the way it is today?

    It seems there would be less of a chance. The search parameters probably wouldn’t be available to her anymore, and she would see that there are no abducted babies missing from Atlanta, or Connecticut or whereever, she was staying. I would imagine she wouldn’t go through, page after page on all 50 states, on a whim.

    What other child might be out there, in her position, possibly searching right now only to be deterred?

  7. Emily March 27, 2013 / 7:56 pm

    I agree! I emailed them and asked how I can search with all the details you used to be able to search with. Hopefully they change it back soon.

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