Today, Tuesday January 13, is Amber Alert Awareness Day. This system first began in 1996 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, when broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children.
AMBER stands for “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response“. Amber Alert was created as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and then brutally murdered.
Other states have since set up their own AMBER Alert plans, as the idea was used across the nation.
Each state has it’s own criteria, but usually follow standards for issuing alerts set up by The PROTECT Act, passed in 2003, such as:
- Confirm that an abduction has taken place
- Confirm the child is at risk of injury or death
- There is a sufficient description of the child, captor, or captor’s vehicle
- The child must be 17 years old or younger
AMBER Alerts are broadcast on radio, television, highway signs, billboards, and printed on lottery tickets. They are also issued on wireless devices, mobile phones, and over the internet.
The program now extends into all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other areas.
According to amberalert.gov the AMBER Alert programs have helped save the lives of 723 children.
90 percent of the recoveries have happened since October 2002, when President Bush called for the appointment of an AMBER Alert Coordinator at the first-ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children.