Stay Informed: National AMBER Alert Awareness

As National AMBER Alert Awareness Month concludes, the NTIC encourages the public to stay informed and subscribe to relevant notification programs, including the Wireless Emergency Alerts program (WEA)—the primary way to receive AMBER Alerts. The AMBER Alert system is named after Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old girl who was murdered after being abducted in Texas in 1996. It is operational in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Several countries around the world have also created their own AMBER Alert programs.

  • Alerts are triggered when a child, 17 or younger, is abducted and meets the criteria of the AMBER Alert program: the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death; there is sufficient identifiable information about the incident for law enforcement to disseminate to the public (age, gender, clothing last seen wearing, vehicles involved, last known location, etc.); and the child’s information has been put into the National Crime Information Center database.

  • Law enforcement sorts AMBER alerts into four categories: endangered runaways, family abduction, non-family abduction, and lost, injured, or otherwise missing. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, in the rare cases of a stranger abducting a child, children are most often targeted traveling to and from school.

  • According to the US Department of Justice, 967 children have been successfully recovered as of September 2019—including 58 recoveries as a direct result of the WEA program pushing out AMBER Alerts. Successful recoveries include cases where individuals identified the abducted child and/or vehicle based on an AMBER Alert and then notified law enforcement.

For more information, visit: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children – Get Help Now: Amber Alerts and US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs – AMBER Alert


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The NTIC is governed by a privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protection policy to promote conduct that complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws. The NTIC does not seek or retain any information about individuals or organizations solely on the basis of their religious, political or social views or activities; their participation in a particular noncriminal organization or lawful event; or their race, ethnicities, citizenships, places of origin, ages, disabilities, genders, or sexual orientations. No information is gathered or collected by the NTIC in violation of federal or state laws or regulations.