Studying child abduction and Amber Alert statistics gives you a good understanding of how well the program is working. This program has been very effective in recovering missing children.
About the Amber Alert Program
The Amber Alert system was established as a way to notify the public that a child abduction has taken place. It was named for Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old girl who was abducted while riding her bicycle and murdered. The Amber Alert program has now expanded to include all 50 states, as well as Canada.
Amber Alert Statistics 2006
According to Amber Alert.gov, there were 261 Amber Alerts issued in the United States between January 1 and December 31, 2006. They had the following results:
- A total of 214 children recovered (53 recoveries were directly attributed to the Amber Alert issued)
- Nine children were recovered after death
- Ten cases open; 11 children missing (as of April 2007)
Of the Amber Alerts issued that year, 147 were issued throughout the state where the abduction occurred. A further 96 Amber Alerts were issued in a specific region, and eight of them were issued at the local level.
Child Abduction Statistics
Looking at Amber Alert statistics is not the only way you can get an idea of the scope of the issue of child abductions. Here are some statistics about child abduction:
- According to the results of a study conducted by the Center for Missing and Exploited Children from February 2005 to July 2006, 2,185 children under the age of 18 were reported missing every day. On an annual basis, that adds up to 797,500 missing kids. Most of them involved cases where the children were abducted by a parent or where the child ran away from home.
- There are between 3,000-5,000 cases of child abductions where the perpetrator is not a family member reported to police annually. In most of these cases, the child is taken for sexual purposes. About six percent of these abductions involve the child:
- Being held for ransom
- Taken with the intention of keeping the child permanently
- Being murdered
More Statistics About Missing Children
The Amber Alert Registry site has also posted the following statistics about missing children in America:
- The number of children who were missing from their caregivers for at least 60 minutes in 1999 was 1,315,600.
- The vast majority of these children (99.8 percent) were located and returned to their families.
- Just under half of the missing children (48 percent) had run away from home.
- Abductions by parents or other family members accounted for 9 percent of missing children cases.
- Abduction by a stranger is a relatively rare occurrence, accounting for only 3 percent of cases.
Amber Alerts are Effective
The Amber Alert statistics all involve real children and their families. When the public is notified quickly that a child abduction has occurred, the odds that they will be reunited with their families increases. Not only are law enforcement agencies aware of the situation, but ordinary people can be on the lookout for the person and vehicle described in the Amber Alert. The system works well, as the statistics mentioned above indicate. Police officials have the flexibility to issue an Amber Alert in certain areas or over an entire state, as appropriate. Hopefully, the majority of cases of missing children will continue to have a positive outcome for the youngsters and their families.