A Child Goes Missing Every 40 Seconds in America
On November 24, an Amber Alert was issued on a child kidnapped from a car seat. On November 14, an Amber Alert in Rochester on a 2-year old resulted in a successful recovery of Baby Hailey. Urgent Child Missing Alerts may not always have positive outcomes, but evidence of their effectiveness are reported every week. On November 24, an Alert for 14-year-old Angela Rodriguez in San Jacinto County resulted in a detailed bulletin including description of a speculate. 18-year-old Joaquin Garcia, 6 foot tall Hispanic, was named as a speculate.
492 Children Recovered
These programs bring together the collective resources of media, journalists, law enforcement and the general public, usually resulting in immediate searches by hundreds of volunteers. Public awareness by media alerts results in many recoveries.
While the Department of Justice reports statistics reflecting hundreds of thousands of missing children, good news is quickly reported. 492 children have been recovered by the program as of last year, the last year reported by the Office of Justice Programs.
The program “has helped to rescue hundreds of children from abductors and return them safely to their homes,” said the past administrations Assistant Attorney General and National Alert Coordinator Jeffrey L. Sedgwick in October of 2008. The Amber Alert program launched in 1996, named in honor of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman of Texas who was abducted and found murdered.
Social Networking Sites Cited as a Risk Factor
While media and law-enforcers cooperate on alerts, arguably the largest worldwide medium, the internet, has produced more opportunities for criminals to prey on children.
On-line predators frequently find children and teens online, often luring them to dangerous situations. Law enforcers ordinarily probe missing children by examining family computers for MySpace, Facebook and other social network histories. A well-known YouTube video explains step-by-step how predators can find, clarify and target children, perhaps educating parents and children but also the very predators it warns against. Since many and social sites online are anonymous, children can be easily convinced they are chatting online with another child the same age, unaware it could be a sex offender.