When the United States announces the search for a missing child, information about him is sent to the phones of Americans. Every minute counts - the chance of finding children alive is three times higher within 6 hours of being kidnapped. This system appeared after the disappearance and death of Amber Hagerman and was named after her. Writes about it "Home".
These signals can be annoying, they can scare, wake up in the middle of the night. The notification system turns on, the speaker of the mobile phone beeps, vibration is triggered. But all people understand that this can save a small life. And most will pay attention to the data indicated in the message.
What happened in Texas in 1996
In Arlington, Texas, on January 13, 1996, a 9-year-old girl named Amber Hagerman and her younger brother Ricky walked and rode bicycles. The streets were deserted. Ricky, having driven next to his sister, drove to the house, and Amber went to the grocery store. The witness was only one person - a 78-year-old neighbor. Jimmy Kevil said that a black car drove up to the store. A man allegedly got out of it, grabbed Amber and dragged her into the car. According to the neighbor, the child screamed and resisted, so the neighbor called the police. She arrived a few minutes later. Fifty police officers and FBI agents were looking for the girl.
They found her five days later. More precisely, they found her dead body - a local resident walked with the dog and saw. The body lay six kilometers from the abduction site. The examination showed that nine-year-old Amber was raped, her throat was cut, and after that she was alive for two more days. The girl's parents could not believe that such a nightmare could happen to their daughter. Richard Hagerman and Donna Witson hoped it was a mistake. The girl's killer has not yet been found.
Twenty years after the tragedy, Amber's mother expressed the opinion that the black car was most likely seen by many. But people did not understand and did not know what exactly they were seeing. In her opinion, it is impossible to kidnap a child in broad daylight and take it somewhere without attracting attention at all.
What is Amber Alert
AMBER Alert - or “Amber Alert” can be interpreted as “Emergency Missing Alert”. This is an abbreviation, but it was not chosen by chance - it was named after Amber Hagerman. When the child was buried, the girl's mother called the local radio and suggested this idea: if the authorities are sending out weather notifications to residents, why not send the same ones about the missing children. The Hagermanns have initiated tougher penalties for people who have committed sex crimes against children.
Congress passed a law named after Amber. And since 1996, the system has been operating in all states of the United States. Later it was introduced in Canada.
The program has saved the lives of over 800 children in the United States, according to the US Department of Justice.
When law enforcement officers determine whether a case meets certain criteria, a notification is prepared with details of who was abducted, a description of the vehicle and the potential kidnapper. Television and radio stations broadcast this data, information appears on electronic road billboards and comes in the form of messages to mobile phones. Authorities say people are paying attention to this and are starting to look around for matching cars and people. And some of the kidnappers themselves release the children, having learned that they are on the wanted list.