AMBER ALERT

AMBER ALERT

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AMBER ALERT

 

AMBER ALERT

WHAT IS AN AMBER ALERT?

An AMBER ALERT is the backronym for "America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response." The purpose of an AMBER ALERT is to put an entire community on notice and use all resources available, both governmental and public, to stop the abductions of children in the United States.  AMBER ALERTS have been adopted by many countries outside the U.S. including Australia, France, Ireland and Mexico.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN AMBER ALERT IS ISSUED?

When an AMBER ALERT is issued the local law enforcement agency, upon confirmation of a serious abduction, will issue statewide alerts that are sent to broadcasters, transportation agencies, and individuals.  Today there exist programs where individuals can be informed directly through a text message that an AMBER ALERT has been issued and to be on the lookout.

WHAT ARE THE CRITERIA FOR ISSUING AN AMBER ALERT?

There are a number of specific criteria that law enforcement will follow in issuing an AMBER ALERT.  The reason for this is to prevent abuse of the system.  The fear is that if AMBER ALERTS become common tools in law enforcement then the public will cease to pay attention to them.

One of the first things that law enforcement looks at is the confirmation of an abduction.  No AMBER ALERT can be issued unless this minimum threshold is met.  The more egregious the abduction the higher the likelihood that an AMBER ALERT will be issued.  Police are more likely to issue an AMBER ALERT in situations dealing with children abducted by strangers rather than those abducted by relatives.

Other criteria include that the law enforcement agency believes that the abducted individual is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.  When a stranger is the abductor law enforcement will take the threat of serious bodily injury much more seriously. 

Also to be considered is the age of the child.  AMBER ALERTS may be issued for the abductions of children "17 years of age or younger." However this is the maximum age for issuing an AMBER ALERT and many States require that the abducted child be of an age much younger than that.  Many States have adopted plans in which an AMBER ALERT issued in one State will be issued in another State, even if the latter States age requirement would be offended.  The only criterion required is that the age of the child falls within the limit prescribed by the issuing State.

Probably most important for a successful recovery is that amount of data that law enforcement possesses on both the child and the abductor.  The outcome of child abduction is much more likely to have a positive result if law enforcement has more information to disseminate.  Preferable data include the name, age, and description of the child being abducted and the age, name, description of the abductor as well as the make and model of any vehicle used in the abduction along with its license plate numbers.

HAS THE PROGRAM BEEN SUCCESSFUL?

According to data by the U.S. Department of Justice, AMBER ALERTS have resulted in the successful recovery of 540 children and in many cases it has found to be a successful deterrent.  Specifically in one situation an abductor released a child after hearing that an AMBER ALERT had been issued.  It remains heavily artillery in the fight against child abduction

 

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