AMBER Alerts Work: Over 800 Kids Rescued-Active List, A Few Seconds Could Save a Life

With over 800 children rescued, in a twenty year span, the statistics prove that AMBER Alerts work.

The AMBER Alert system was created in 1996 and was named after nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, a victim of child abduction and murder, and stands for — America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response. By 2005, all 50 states implemented the program.

As technology progressed through the years, so did the AMBER Alert system. Notifications have been sent to mobile devices automatically, via Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), since 2013. Alerts are also posted on electronic traffic signs.

AMBER Alerts have utilized mobile alerts and electronic traffic signs as well as social media
Out of the 800 AMBER Alert rescues, 25 of them were by WEA. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) acts as a distributor for the program, and has expanded to social media outlets including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

In 2014, according to, there were 186 AMBER Alerts and 72 recoveries. The NCMEC website details the statistics and reports that 2,185 children are “reported missing each day.” The website also has a list of active AMBER Alerts; Pearl Pinson, 15, and nine-year-old Diana Alvarez are currently reported as missing.

The Los Angeles Times reported the details of Pinson’s kidnapping and named Fernando Castro (19) as the abductor.

“A witness saw the girl being pulled away by an armed man at a pedestrian bridge that crosses Interstate 780, officials said. She was reportedly bleeding and screaming for help as she was dragged off. The witness ran to help and heard a gunshot, authorities said. At the pedestrian bridge, deputies found blood on the ground. The next day, the California Highway Patrol issued an Amber Alert for Pearl and identified 19-year-old Fernando Castro as her kidnapper.”

The AMBER Alert for Diana Alvarez was sent out June 2, and Fox 4 reported the details of the suspect.

“Four days after going missing from her San Carlos Park home, an Amber Alert was issued for 9-year-old Diana Alvarez and has led to multiple tips from all over regarding the missing child.. Authorities are now searching for a former roommate of the family.

“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement believes Diana is in the company of 28-year-old Jorge Guerrero. He has ties to the Orange County and Okeechobee area and was believed to be driving a tan Chevy Malibu with Florida tag number 78NHD.

“Guerrero is described as 5′ 5″ tall, 145 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.”

AMBER Alerts continue to improve; in May, reported that the United States, Canada, and Mexico are joining forces. This coordinated effort could increase the success rate of the AMBER Alerts.

“The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) and Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General (PGR) sponsored a Trinational Forum yesterday and today in Mexico City, bringing together Amber Alert Coordinators from Mexico, the United States and Canada. The forum aimed to create mechanisms for the international coordination of Amber Alerts in order to better respond to potential cross-border cases of missing children.

“Opening the forum, Mexican Attorney General Arely Gomez highlighted the importance of international cooperation in the identification of missing children, noting that the Amber Alert program ‘breaks the barriers of communication, time and distance,’ and highlighted that the ‘neutralization and disruption of criminal groups and their operations cannot depend on limits created by borders or national identities.’

“The importance of the Amber Alert system also was recognized by U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in her remarks yesterday at the annual National Missing Children’s Day Ceremony in Washington, D.C., where she noted the Trinational Event in Mexico City and said, ‘and our commitment to rescuing missing children does not stop at the border. I am proud to say that our Department of Justice has collaborated with the Attorney General of Mexico on the development of Mexico’s AMBER Alert System, which has already resulted in the rescue of hundreds of Mexican children.'”

AMBER Alerts have progressed the efforts and results in rescuing abducted children. The success rate will increase as more people utilize the mobile and social media notifications; it doesn’t take long to click on a link and to look at the details of the missing child— a few seconds could save a life.

[Photo by Mike Simons/Getty Images]