The AMBER Alert Program
The AMBER Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry, to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. The goal of an AMBER Alert is to instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of the child.
Named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996, it is also an acronym for "America's Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response".
In 2001, only two children were recovered due to AMBER Alert. In 2006, 69 children were recovered because of an AMBER Alert. To date, the program has helped save the lives of over 430 children nationwide. Over 90% of those recoveries have occurred since October 2002 when President Bush called for the appointment of an AMBER Alert Coordinator at the first-ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children. It has been shown that some perpetrators release the abducted child after hearing the AMBER Alert on the radio or seeing it on television.
Indianapolis, the capital city of Indiana, has a population of about 780,000, making it Indiana's most populous city, the third largest city in the Midwest and the 13th largest in the U.S. Although Levine chose Indianapolis as a setting that represented a sense of home and safe predictability, Indianapolis actually has an above average rate of violent crime - 883 incidents per 100,000 people. This compares with a rate of 516/100,000 in Indiana as a whole, and a rate of 596/100,000 nationally.
This article was originally published in March 2008, and has been updated for the
February 2009 paperback release.
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