There is an underlying current beneath native crimes in this country in missing data. Every year, there are many missing and murdered Native American women that fall into these categories, but the exact numbers are not known. It would be safe to estimate that thousands of indigenous women have gone missing during recent years, but there is no way to say exactly how many there are.
Incomplete and inaccurate data regarding missing indigenous people continue to be a problem today. As a result, it's harder to send information out to the rest of the US that could potentially help these cases get solved.
The issue and its scale really can't be quantified because there is no consistent or reliable information to be found anywhere. This has been an ongoing problem that has been known and debated throughout the last few years. In 2018 the Urban Indian Health Institute issued a report showing that the information available on the NamUs (National Missing and Unidentified Persons System) database was incomplete.
The NamUs is administered and funded by the Department of Justice and is an information resource Center for missing people, unclaimed bodies, and unidentified remains. It is available both to law enforcement and to the public. The database helps spread the word about a person who has gone missing to help potentially locate the individual.
Officials in law enforcement are the only ones with access to the National Crime Information Center, which reported 6,000 missing indigenous girls and women in 2016. The statistics for the same year reported by the NamUs was only 116 cases, which is indeed a huge discrepancy. These numbers indicate that many cases regarding missing indigenous females have fallen through the cracks in one way or another.
The Urban Indian Health Institute has outlined a data crisis on a national level that covers 71 cities across the country. Researchers found that more than 150 different cases hadn't even made their way into any law enforcement records. As a result, there has been a lot of pressure put on the government to provide more information and update the existing data about native people that are missing.
This pressure has prompted NamUs to add new database fields in 2019. These include whether or not the person went missing from tribal land and the individual’s tribal affiliation. Reports are also now generated using statistical data on missing indigenous people. These reports include the percentage of the cases that tribal law enforcement officers are investigating.
Anyone missing a loved one knows just how difficult it can be, even when some information is known. Things are much harder when the data isn't there to do a thorough investigation. While some people turn to a private investigator, a family law attorney, or a criminal lawyer for help, many individuals simply cannot afford to put the money forward to hunt down more data.
While it can't be argued that forward progress hasn't been accomplished, a lot more must be done. First, a full revamp of the data collection process is necessary to understand the depth and scope of the problem.