AMBER alerts save lives. When a child is missing, the more people looking, the faster the child is found. If your child was missing, how many people would you want looking? If it did not cost you anything, would you sign up?
AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. The name for AMBER alerts is based on the reddish-yellow (amber) color of the alert and is a legacy of the 9-year-old, Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas.
What is an AMBER Alert?
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) issues AMBER alerts under the following conditions:
- Law enforcement has reason to believe an abduction has occurred.
- The child is 17-years-old or younger.
- Law enforcement believes the imminent danger of great bodily harm or death exists.
- Enough descriptive information about the child and abduction exists for helpful information to generate.
- Information about the abduction, the child’s name and pertinent data and the Child Abduction flag are entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
More than 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That is more than 2,000 per day. Many are recovered without incident.
One in five girls and one in ten boys will be sexually assaulted before age 18. Only one in three will report it.
76% of all kidnapped children are killed within the first three hours after abduction. Almost 89% are murdered within the first 24 hours.
On average, between 200 and 250 AMBER alerts issue each year. 554 children have been reunited with families based on AMBER alerts.
All 50 states, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico have AMBER alert plans.
More than 70% of cell phone users can receive AMBER alerts free of charge.
100% of computer users can receive AMBER alerts.
Make A Difference
1. Pay attention to television, highway sign, radio and cell alerts. Be observant of your surroundings. What you see and hear can mean the difference between finding a child alive and finding one murdered.
Abductors have seen AMBER alerts and released the child because they knew they would eventually been found. They know people like you will give law enforcement information about them.
2. Download an AMBER alert ticker to your computer. CodeAmber.org is the designer of the AMBER alert ticker. It is designed to auto-update.
3. Sign up for AMBER alert text messages. The NCMEC, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and CTIA-Wireless Foundation have teamed up with wireless companies to deliver wireless AMBER alerts to your cell at no charge. There are a few ways to sign up.
B. Visit your cell carrier’s website and request service.
C. Visit WirelessAmberAlerts.org and enter your telephone number. You will be delivered to your carrier’s website to register.
You will only receive AMBER alerts for your area or state. Messages will be held if you inbox is full or you are out of coverage for five days. The message will be periodically redelivered during that time. If the AMBER alert is cancelled, you will receive a message to that effect.
If you vacation, consider receiving alerts for the area you visit.
4. Take AMBER alerts seriously. When you receive an AMBER alert, look around you. The abductor could be closer than you think. You may have passed the vehicle in traffic. You may have seen the perpetrator in a store or on the sidewalk.
5. Report what you know. The national hotline for reporting children missing and giving information about abductions is 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). A local law enforcement number is issued with all AMBER alerts for you to call with information. You may also call your state police from your cell with a short code (#HP, varies by state).
Why MAD with AMBER alerts?
The two-fold reason for AMBER alerts is to protect children from abduction and to aid in the recovery of abducted children. Many countries have added AMBER alerts systems of their own, including Canada, France, Australia, Ireland, Malaysia, Mexico and the Netherlands. Interpol assists in international abductions.
The first three hours are critical to an abducted child. The faster the information gets into the hands of the general public, the faster law enforcement has the help of the citizens. You can Make A Difference.
Are you already subscribed to AMBER alerts on your computer and/or cell phone? Do you know a child who was abducted? Have you ever given information to law enforcement based on an AMBER alert?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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AMBER alert symbol is a registered trademark of the US Department of Justice.
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