Are Amber Alerts Good?

Andres Nichols, Contributor

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Amber alerts have helped save a few children in the past years but do they really benefit on the search for these missing children? They are good in the sense that they warn many citizens about a recent kidnapping in their state/general area and makes sure to notify others to keep an eye out for anything related to the situation.

In Arizona, there was several amber alerts within Labor day weekend alone. All of these alerts were for the same children. Each alert mentioned a different vehicle that was used by the kidnapper. The criminal obviously knew that the police were on the hunt to find him so he simply just switched cars several times. The criminal probably had the amber alerts turned on or this escape was well planned knowing where he had to switch into a different car to get away. Amber alerts come with the downfall of the fact that kidnappers can then see what is known to police about the crime and can easily change something to make it more difficult to be caught. This downfall can then cause the crime to last for possibly several years.

According to the U.S. Office of Justice, as of December 23, 2015, there have been eight hundred children rescued and returned because of amber alerts. They also state that many abductors have just left the child after knowing that they are being chased down. But according to Timothy Griffin, only about twenty percent of what he has put into data was successful. Even though the data was only a partially completed, twenty percent is low. This could mean that the all time rate of success could be around thirty to forty percent. Amber alerts also do not play for every kidnapping since they must follow the alert guidelines. The U.S. Office of Justice says that they want to only send out alerts if they follow the guidelines because if they play these alerts for every kidnapping then people would get desensitized of these notices.

Even if the success of amber alerts are low and can disturb people, the system should never be taken down despite the possibility of helping the abductor escape with the lost children. This system is built on the hope that citizens would help the police find the missing children. Without the citizens help, what is the point of this system? Even if only a few children are saved because of this program, amber alerts are good and should be kept to help increase the chances of lost children being found.

 

Sources:

https://www.amberalert.gov/faqs.htm

https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/after-20-years-of-amber-alerts-are-they-worth-it

https://www.amberalert.gov/statistics.htm

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