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Amber Alerts: How successful have they been in saving abducted kids?

Amber Alerts, which played a key role in the rescue of Hannah Anderson from her alleged abductor James Lee DiMaggio, have helped save more than 600 kidnapped children. New technology and social media have expanded this successful program.

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Over the years, according to the Nation Center, Amber Alerts have resulted in 656 successful recoveries of children.

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With advances in computer and communications technology, as well as in social media, new ways of disseminating Amber Alerts have evolved.

“ Radio and TV, lottery and highway signs, airports and truck stops, Yahoo, Facebook and AOL, are all part of the AMBER Alert system of getting information about a missing child to people in the very locality in which she was abducted or last seen,” according to the Justice Department.

Most recently, that has included Google.

“This innovative and exciting new partnership will provide real-time AMBER Alert updates to users of Google Map and Google Search features,” Justice Department official Mary Lou Leary said in announcing this step last November. “Because we know a child’s chances for a safe recovery are greater when resources are mobilized quickly, Google Public Alerts will help to ensure a rapid response in the first critical hours after a child goes missing.”

This year, Amber Alerts were added to the nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert program – which is why “Government Alerts” (including “AMBER Alerts” and “Government Alerts”) now appear in the “settings>notifications” of new Apple iPhones and other smart phones, where they can be manually switched on or off.

If the system knows where you are based on the GPS capability of your phone, it sends you Amber Alert messages for the area in which you’re located.

“This has already been successful,” writes National Center for Missing & Exploited Children CEO John Ryan on the organization’s website. “In February, an 8-month-old baby was abducted during a home invasion in Minneapolis. She was safely recovered when a young woman received the AMBER Alert on her phone, saw the car parked across the street and called police.”

On Sunday, an Amber Alert was issued in Rhode Island for a 2-year-old boy state police say was taken by the suspect in a double homicide.

An Amber Alert has been issued for Isaih Perez, who was discovered missing from a Johnston, R.I., home at 5:20 a.m. Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Authorities say they believe 22-year-old Malcolm Crowell of Providence has the boy. They say he should be considered armed and dangerous.


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