Amber alert

child abduction alert system

An AMBER Alert is a system that warns people about children who have been kidnapped. It started in the United States in 1996. It was named for Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old girl who was kidnapped and killed in Arlington, Texas.[1] It is a backronym for America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.[1] Similar systems have been started in other countries, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, and Europe.

An AMBER Alert on an electronic billboard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A child abduction emergency on a TV on March 15, 2020 at approximately 3:46 PM in New Jersey.

AMBER alerts are often shown on electronic message signs on highways. This often causes bad traffic due to drivers stopping to look at the message.[2] They are also shown on television and heard on radio.

AMBER alerts are issued by police organizations in the state that the kidnapping happens in. They have the name and a description of the child who was kidnapped, a description of the person who police think kidnapped the child, and if available, a description and license plate number of the vehicle of the person who kidnapped the child.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Frequently asked questions" (pdf).

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