Statistics show that the first three hours after a child's abduction are most critical to recovery efforts. By combining the efforts of the wireless industry with the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and law enforcement agencies, the Wireless AMBER Alerts™ initiative will be a catalyst for the more than 200 million wireless subscribers to aid in the search for and recovery of an abducted child.
According to NCMEC, more than 260 children have been recovered since the AMBER Alert program began in 1997. The program-an early warning system to find abducted children-started as a local effort in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area and became a national initiative in 2003. AMBER stands for "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response." The program is a legacy to Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas, and was later found murdered.
An estimated 70 percent of Americans have wireless phones, and together they can serve as a national network that assists families and the authorities in searching for abducted children. By signing up to receive Wireless AMBER Alerts, subscribers receive information about local Alerts, as well as updates as the search progresses.
Subscribers capable of receiving text messages, and whose wireless carrier participates in the Wireless AMBER Alerts initiative, may opt in to receive Alerts by registering at www.wirelessamberalerts.org or their wireless carrier's Web site. Users can designate up to five ZIP codes from which they'd like to be alerted in the case of an AMBER Alert activation.
The Advertising Council, in partnership with NCMEC, The Wireless Foundation and the U.S Department of Justice, launched a multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to raise awareness of Wireless AMBER Alerts and encourage all wireless subscribers to aid in the search for abducted children. It is the first nationwide PSA campaign to address this technology and the ads launched on National Missing Children's Day (May 25th).
Wireless subscribers can now sign up to receive free AMBER Alerts via text messages.