More than a million youth run away in a year in the nation.
That's according to statistics reported on the National Runaway Safeline.
While it's a situation that authorities take very seriously, it is not handled in the same manner as an abduction case would be handled.
According to authorities, a runaway is typically a voluntary situation.
An attempt is made to locate the child both locally and nationally by reporting the case to the FBI's National Crime Information Center.
When the situation is not believed to be voluntary, the child is believed to be at serious risk of bodily injury or death, or there are suspicious circumstances, authorities will issue an Amber Alert.
Lt. Jason Sundbakken says while the number of runaways in our region is no higher than the national average, it is still important to raise awareness and educate people on how to handle runaway situations.
(Lt. Jason Sundbakken) "If there is a person who is a runaway the other issue is people harbor those runaways. They are friends and they think they are doing a favor by hiding them from law enforcement or their parents or guardian and that is a chargeable offense, harboring a runaway. We would strongly encourage that if there is a child you know or believe is a runaway you call authorities or their guardian and let them know where that child is at to get them back home safely."
If you or somebody you know is in a runaway situation, you can contact local authorities as well as the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-RUNAWAY.