An emergency message issued by law enforcement agencies when they determine that a child has been abducted and is facing imminent danger. It brings in the community’s awareness and effort to help in ensuring the child’s safe rescue.
Amber Alert Details
When there is suspected child abduction, time is a crucial factor because each passing minute determines if you will rescue a child when they are still alive and free from harm. This child abduction emergency alert, AMBER, is an acronym for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. It is usually a call for help to the community to assist in the rescue efforts distributed by a child abduction alert system.
These emergency alerts broadcast through TV, radio, cellphones, road signs, and data-enabled devices. Amber Alerts transmit via special wireless carrier channels (Cell Broadcast). It is the same channel that broadcasts weather alerts and other emergency or Presidential alerts. The alert messages do not experience the congestion usually found on voice and SMS text channels. The message transmits to the data-enabled devices within range of the cellular carrier towers. The only information that the system carries is your number. There is no cost for receiving Amber Alerts.
Real-World Example of Amber Alert
Internationally, other countries have also adopted and introduced programs similar to the Amber Alert. The systems work similarly but may have different names in different regions. The Netherlands, South Korea, and Canada refer to their program as Amber Alert. Examples of other countries and the respective name given to the program include the following:
- Australia and Cyprus (Child Abduction Alert)
- Mexico (Alerta AMBER Mexico)
- Jamaica (Ananda Alert)
- UK (Child Rescue Alert)
- El Salvador (Alerta Angel Desaparecido)
- Ireland (Irish Child Rescue Alert)
- Guatemala (Alba-Kenneth Alert)
- Poland (Child Alert)
- Malaysia (Nurin Alert)
- France and Switzerland (Alert Enlèvement)
- Italy (Italian Child Abduction Alert System)
There have been past instances of Amber Alerts’ exploitation. For example, situations wherein there may be custodial fights between parents and one parent opts to take the child or children. For this reason, there should be a proper guideline, and the situation should meet the criteria for an Amber Alert to be issued. Before the Police department issues an Amber Alert, they ought to follow the guideline set by the United States Department of Justice:
- There must be a confirmation by law enforcement that an abduction has taken place.
- The child must be facing potential harm through the risk of serious injury or death.
- There must be sufficient information to issue an alert. It includes a description of the child, the captor, and the captor’s vehicle, and the license plate, if available.
- The child must be below the age of 17 years.
History of Amber Alert
The term “Amber Alert” originates in the United States after an unfortunate incident happened in 1996. In Arlington, Texas, a young girl called Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered when she was nine years old. She was riding her bicycle when she was abducted from a parking lot. A witness called 911, and her father and neighbors formed a search party. Unfortunately, it was too late. Her body was found four days later, just five miles (8km) from the location her abduction took place. In some locations across the USA, localized names were created in memory of abducted children. Examples include the following:
- Arkansas: Morgan Nick Amber Alert, in memory of Morgan Nick
- Georgia: Levi’s Call, in memory of Levi Frady
- Utah: Rachael Alert, in memory of Rachael Runyan
- Hawaii: Maile Amber Alert, in memory of Maile Gilbert