Amber alerts appear on phone screens, highway signs and broadcasts when a child is abducted.
An Amber Alert needs to fit a kidnapping case to go out — so if you find one, the situation is extremely serious.
If you’ve ever received an Amber Alert, you may be unsure of how to help and what to do next.
Parents are warned that child abductions are attempted at these distinct times of the day
Here’s an overview of what to do if you receive an Amber Alert — and a little background on emergency systems, too.
Check out these tips.
- Why is it called an Amber Alert?
- Which states receive the most Amber Alerts?
- What do I do when I receive an Amber Alert?
1. Why is it called an Amber Alert?
The Amber Alert system has been in place since 1996.
It stands for America’s Broadcast Emergency Response and is named after Amber Hagerman.
In 1996, 9-year-old Hagerman was kidnapped while riding his motorcycle in Arlington, Texas.
Four days after her abduction, her body was found in a creek about four miles away.
The person responsible for this brutal crime has not been caught yet. This was the case that inspired the Amber Alert system now in place.
2. Which states receive the most Amber Alerts?
Year after year, the state of Texas — where the incident that prompted the Amber Alert occurred — receives the most alerts.
In 2021, the Office of Justice Programs reported 33 alerts in the state of Texas.
3. What do I do when I receive an Amber Alert?
If you receive an Amber Alert, it means a child in the area is at risk, and it’s important to act quickly.
In order to issue an Amber Alert, there are a series of requirements that must first be met.
The first step is for law enforcement to determine that a child has been abducted and that the child is at risk of serious injury or death.
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To issue an Amber Alert, law enforcement needs a detailed description of the child in danger and the abductor or abductor’s vehicle.
Finally, Amber Alerts are only issued for abducted children under the age of 17.
An Amber Alert is often distributed by cellphones, broadcast networks and highway signs. If you see or hear an Amber Alert, take the time to read it and familiarize yourself with what law enforcement is looking for.
Keep these descriptions in mind and be on the lookout.
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If you are outside and see a vehicle or person matching the description on the Amber Alert, immediately call 911 or the number provided by the alert and give as many details as possible about what you saw.
Any information you have could save a child’s life.