AMBER Alert History and Success

AMBER Alert History and Success. You may have seen or heard an AMBER Alert sometime in the not-too-distant past.

Perhaps it was on a flashing billboard over a freeway or on a television screen or radio announcement. Or maybe you have been concerned with kids safety on the internet. Many parents are Teaching Stranger Danger to their kids at home.


Bulletin

An AMBER Alert is basically an all-points bulletin distributed as widely and quickly as possible via all media outlets available, notifying the public in a given area of the confirmed abduction of a child under age 18 who is in serious danger. It usually includes the name and description of the child and, if known, the name and description of the suspected abductor and/or the abductor's vehicle.

By putting the police and the general public on high alert, it is hoped and has been proven, in many cases, that the child and abductor will be located quickly, the abductor arrested, and the child saved from potential harm.

High Alert

According to Amber Alert History the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 400 abducted children have been safely recovered and returned to their families thanks to the widespread implementation of the system in the United States and Canada since it was first introduced in 1998.

System

The Amber alert history is not pretty, because the system was developed in response to a horrible tragedy. But it is important to know the AMBER Alert history in order to understand the need for and the successes of this program.

The system is named in memory of Amber Hagerman. Amber was just nine years old when she was abducted in 1996 in Arlington, Texas from her home. Amber was later found sexually assaulted and murdered. There was no widespread communication or notification system in place at the time of her abduction to help find and save her. Her family was devastated.

Grief

Her parents-Donna and Richard Hagerman-channeled their grief into finding ways that law enforcement could get the word out faster and wider when a child goes missing in the hope that another child might be saved from such a horrible and tragic fate. They founded People Against Sex Offenders (PASO), and that organization ultimately led to an automated notification of a child's abduction-now called the AMBER Alert-being created and generated by the Child Alert Foundation in 1998.

That same year, in November 1998, an 8-week-old infant girl, Rae Leigh Bradbury, was abducted from her home and the system kicked into action. It saved her life.

Urgency

In order to stress the urgency and seriousness of the risk to an abducted child, AMBER Notifications are governed by federal guidelines and only issued under specific circumstances when a child or senior citizen is in grave and imminent danger. This is so that the public does not become complacent and both public and media stay very seriously focused when an alert is issued.

There are now also additional secondary alert systems in place to alert the public when an abduction does not meet the federal criteria for an official AMBER Alert.

Technology

Today these Alerts are disseminated via wireless media such as text messages, online utilizing the Internet, through the Emergency Alert System of television and cable television stations, on both satellite and commercial radio stations, and on electronic signs such as Walgreen Drug Store reader board signs and traffic condition signs located on many highways.

If you see an AMBER Notification, read the details and stay alert. If you see something you believe to be relevant, such as the location of the abductor's vehicle with plates that match the license mentioned in the notice, call 911. The information you provide police could save a child's life.

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