An AMBER Alert or a Child Abduction Emergency (SAME code: CAE) is a child abduction alert system. It originated in the United States in 1996.
AMBER is officially a contrived acronym for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, but was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996. Alternative regional alert names were once used; in Georgia, “Levi’s Call”(in memory of Levi Frady); in Hawaii, “Maile Amber Alert” (in memory of Maile Gilbert); and Arkansas, “Morgan Nick Amber Alert” (in memory of Morgan Nick).
In the United States, AMBER Alerts are distributed via commercial radio stations, Internet radio, satellite radio, television stations, and cable TV by the Emergency Alert System and NOAA Weather Radio (where they are termed “Child Abduction Emergency” or “Amber Alerts”). The alerts are also issued via e-mail, electronic traffic-condition signs, commercial electronic billboards,or through wireless device SMS text messages.
Activation Criteria :
The alerts are broadcast using the Emergency Alert System, which had previously been used primarily for weather bulletins, civil emergencies, or national emergencies.Alerts usually contain a description of the child and of the likely abductor. To avoid both false alarms and having alerts ignored as a “wolf cry“, the criteria for issuing an alert are rather strict. Each state’s or province’s AMBER alert plan sets its own criteria for activation, meaning that there are differences between alerting agencies as to which incidents are considered to justify the use of the system. However, the U.S. Department of Justice issues the following “guidance”, which most states are said to “adhere closely to” (in the U.S.):
- Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.
- The child must be at risk of serious injury or death.
- There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor’s vehicle to issue an alert.
- The child must be under 18 years of age