Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amber Alert info

In a previous post I shared how to have your cell phone help you (Have you got an ICE?), this post I want to share how to have your cell phone help others.


Unless you have been hiding under a rock since before 2002, I would think you are already aware of the AMBER Alert system.  Please read this entire post, or at least jump to the bottom for IMPORTANT info.



Where and why did AMBER Alert first start?
The AMBER Alert System began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth 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 and 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.


How does it work?
Once law enforcement has determined that a child has been abducted and the abduction meets AMBER Alert criteria, law enforcement notifies broadcasters and state transportation officials.


How effective has it been?
AMBER Alert has been very effective. AMBER Alert programs have helped save the lives of over 200 children nationwide.
Over 84 percent of those recoveries have occurred 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


What are the criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts?
Each state AMBER Alert plan has its own criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts. The PROTECT Act, passed in 2003, which established the role of AMBER Alert Coordinator within the Department of Justice, calls for the Department of Justice to issue minimum standards or guidelines for AMBER Alerts that states can adopt voluntarily. The Department's Guidance on Criteria for Issuing AMBER Alerts follows:

  • Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place
  • The child is at risk of serious injury or death
  • There is sufficient descriptive information of child, captor or captor's vehicle to issue an Alert
  • The child must be 17-years-old or younger
  • It is recommended that immediate entry of AMBER Alert data be entered into the FBI's National Crime Information Center. Text information describing the circumstances surrounding the abduction of the child should be entered, and the case flagged as Child Abduction.

Will my carrier charge me for receiving Wireless AMBER Alerts?

No. The carriers who are participating in the Wireless AMBER Alerts Initiative have entered into an agreement with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that requires them to provide these alerts at no additional cost to consumers. Your wireless phone must be capable of receiving text messages (virtually all recent models qualify) and your service plan must include basic message receipt capability. If you have any questions, you should contact your wireless carrier.



How can your cell phone help others?

Please visit to sign up for free notifications of Amber Alerts in your area. 


When you input your cell phone number, you will be taken to signup page specifically for your cellular service provider.  You are only signing up for Wireless Amber Alerts, your number will not be shared with any third party or used for other purposes.


You can see how the system works here


If your loved one was abducted, wouldn't you want to know that thousands of individuals in your specific area are alerted about it?

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