Need to report someone lost or missing? call 111 - Ask for police

Considering the subject's likely behaviour

Page updated: 30 November 2020

Consider the subject's likely behaviour by reviewing the profile of the subject, consulting experts, and using statistics on lost person behaviour (LPB).

Identify the category of lost person the subject fits into

The 13 categories of lost person are:

  • children 1 to 3 years of age
  • children 4 to 6 years of age
  • children 7 to 12 years of age
  • youth 13 to 15 years of age
  • people who are despondent or suicidal
  • people with psychological illnesses
  • people with developmental problems
  • people with Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • trampers and walkers
  • climbers
  • hunters
  • prospectors
  • people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, or Asperger’s.

Consult the profile of the subject and people with relevant expertise to ensure you categorise the subject correctly.


Consult research on lost person behaviour

Research on lost person behaviour (LPB) shows that people within each of the 13 categories tend to act similarly when they are lost.

Consult statistics on lost person behaviour used in the NZ search and rescue sector. Use Robert Koester’s International Search and Rescue Incident Database to calculate the subject's travel distance.


Be aware that the subject may act in unexpected ways

Statistics are based on averages and probability. This means that the behaviour of some subjects may fall outside of the statistics. Keep this in mind as you plan search activities.

Need to report someone lost or missing? call 111 - Ask for police