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The Amber Alert system is an excellent program, dedicated to finding missing kids. It brings peace of mind to a lot of parents... but sometimes it is a false hope. Not all kids qualify and the program does have its limitations.
The Amber Alert plan is a system designed to find missing kids quickly. When a child goes missing and qualifies for the program, a message is sent to the entire state or province, and sometimes to neighboring areas just in case the child is taken across state/province/country borders.
Amber Hagerman is a little girl who went missing in Texas and was found dead days later. Her tragic story got people’s attention and spurred on the movement of an alert system for missing kids.
Although originally named after the little Texas girl, now its been made into an acronym... or rather a "backronym". AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.
Texas citizens, a radio station, the local law enforcement - and it spread from there. Read more about Amber Alert history here.
When a child goes missing, parents call the local police station to learn their options. If the child qualifies, then the police sound the alarm - often through TV, radio, and highway traffic signs - much like a severe storm warning.
They also use wireless alerts through emails, texts, notices on websites and so on.
Parents looking for Amber Alert information should contact their local police. But in general there are 3 points that must be met…
2. They have to be in danger of death or severe injury.
3. You have to have enough information for people to spot them (identifying info about the child or predator, the abductor’s vehicle, etc).
I think the Amber Alert system is an amazing program with incredible results! There are very few downsides in my opinion, but the few downsides are big.
Parents often assume they can just walk in and say “My kid is missing” and the Amber Alert system automatically kicks in. But that’s not the case.
You must meet the criteria listed above. If you don't, then the police are not allowed to issue an Amber Alert for your child.
They can’t. The FBI gets more than 2,000 reports of new missing kids every day in the USA alone.
Can you imagine if we had 2,000 Amber Alerts every single day? It wouldn’t be an alert anymore… it would be an annoyance. People would ignore it.
Again, you have to meet the criteria above or there is no alert issued.
Statistically, authorities “recover” nearly every child who gets the Amber Alert, which is great! But most parents don’t realize that “recovered” doesn’t mean alive or unharmed. To recover a murdered missing child is hard on parents, but at least they have closure.
I prefer to find ways to prevent missing kids instead of saying “No worries. If my kid goes missing, I’ll just get the Amber Alert.”
Every now and again, someone doesn’t follow procedure. The child was never really "abducted" or was never in danger of being hurt.
When an Amber Alert is triggered, the whole community comes together to search for the child. If it turns out to be a false alarm, people lose trust in the system.
Next time they see an Amber Alert, they wonder if it is for real or just another false alarm.
*NOTE:The Amber Alert system is a quality program for those missing children who DO qualify for it (which unfortunately is not many).
Only 1% of missing children qualify for the Amber Alert system. A full page on statistics coming soon...
You can find current Amber Alerts for your state or province here (USA and Canada).
is in the process of building a similar program, although current alerts haven't spread as wide in the digital world. Some places are
looking at a world-wide child alert system, however that plan is far from ready to implement.
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