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Focus on "Amber
The term "Amber
Alert" is being used a lot with stories about missing children.
The Amber Alert system originated in Arlington, Texas after
nine-year-old Amber Hagerman was abducted and murdered in 1996.
A quick response is important in child abductions. A report in
Time Magazine said that seventy-four percent of children who are killed
by their abductors have died within three hours of being
kidnapped. After Amber's tragic death, the Dallas/Fort Worth Association of Radio Managers
came up with the idea of working with the police to broadcast details
about a child abduction as quickly as possible and using the Emergency
Broadcast System, a networking of stations that already exists to alert
the public of major emergencies such as tornado or flood warnings.
The system was originally designed to warn of nuclear
In addition to broadcast warnings, many states have set up electronic
signs along major highways that can also quickly spread the details of a
kidnapping such as descriptions of the child, the abductor, and other
details such as suspect license numbers.
There are numerous success stories of children who have been rescued and
suspects who have been arrested.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has issued guidelines
to be used to deciding whether to issue an Amber alert:
...law enforcement confirms a child has been abducted
...law enforcement believes the circumstances surrounding the abduction indicate that the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death
...there is enough descriptive information about the child, abductor, and/or
suspect's vehicle to believe an immediate broadcast alert will help
Amber alerts tend to be broadcast in major population areas and
different states and agencies handle the alerts in different ways.
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