Public Safety News
Texas Center for the Missing
Thursday, January 12, 2012
NATIONAL AMBER ALERT AWARENESS DAY:
HOUSTON COMMUNITY SERVED BY MOST SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM
National Amber Alert Awareness Day, held annually on January 13th, marks the creation of the Amber Alert Program in 1997 when Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. The Amber Alert 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 in early 1996.
Other states and communities soon set up their own Amber Alert plans as the idea was adopted across the nation. Houston's Regional Amber Alert System was created on December 7th, 2000, and currently serves the 14-counties in the Houston-Galveston Region including Austin, Chambers, Colorado, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller, and Wharton counties.
Texas Center for the Missing is the local administrator of the Houston Regional Amber Alert. The Center offers crisis intervention, prevention, and community education services related to child abductions, runaways, internet lures, and endangered adults. The organization also offers monthly training sessions for law enforcement on when and how to issue an Amber Alert.
An Amber Alert can only be issued if the child is 17 years of age or younger; law enforcement believes the missing child to be abducted and has ruled out other alternative explanations for the disappearance; law enforcement believes the child is in danger of serious bodily harm or death; and sufficient information is available to share with the public to assist in locating the child, suspect, or suspect's vehicle.
Houston's Regional Amber Alert System is the largest regional Amber program in the country, serving 6 million citizens, and has a recovery rate of 93%. The Houston Regional Amber Alert System is the most successful in the nation and is credited with the safe recovery of 68 children directly attributed to the Amber Alert, out of a national total of 554 children safely recovered to date due to the alert system. In 2010, there were 12 Amber Alerts issued in the Houston area, and a record low of the 3 Amber Alerts were issued in 2011. One Amber Alert has already been issued and the child safely recovered for 2012. Houston's system is also the only Amber Alert program that is not administered or funded by a governmental entity and relies solely on public support.
National Amber Alert Awareness Day is also the kickoff for the National Center for the Missing and Exploited Children's annual poster contest for 5th graders to educate them on their local Amber Alert program and on the issue of missing children. If you would like more information on how to participate in that competition, contact Texas Center for the Missing who administers the poster contest in Texas. To learn more about the contest, contact the Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.599.0235.
To learn more about the Houston Regional Amber Alert System, visit www.amberplan.net. To subscribe to receive local or Houston Area Amber Alert emails and text messages, visit www.amberplan.net/subscribe-alerts.asp.
For more information about Texas Center for the Missing, or to schedule Amber Alert issuance training, visit www.thetexascenter.org or contact the organization at email@example.com or 713.599.0235.