Amber Alerts to stop a kidnapping in progress

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Amber Alerts to stop a kidnapping in progress

The Amber Alert was created in 1996 after the kidnap and murder of 9-year old Amber Hagerman in the Dallas, Texas area. A witness had seen Amber kidnapped and put into a black pickup truck and driven away. But that information was not shared with the public. Eventually a program was started based on that experience that if law enforcement has information about a kidnapping in progress, they then contact the media who shares that information with the public so they can become first responders, eyes and ears, looking for a particular vehicle darting away with a particular child. It's a program that's been adopted in absolutely every state and almost every community within the United States now, and has been responsible for the recovery of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of children. One of the problems with the Amber Alert though is that in order to fulfill the criteria for an Amber Alert, you need to have a vehicle description. In most cases of stereotypical stranger abduction, you're not going to have that information. So while the Amber Alert is very helpful in certain types of kidnappings, i.e. parental situations in acrimonious divorces, it's not good in cases like Polly's or cases like Elizabeth Smart's or Adam Walsh, or so many of the other iconic cases that we now know about. That having been said, it is a good program.

View Marc Klaas's video on Amber Alerts to stop a kidnapping in progress...


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Marc Klaas

President, KlaasKids

In the aftermath of the Oct 1, 1993 kidnapping and murder of his 12-year-old daughter Polly, Marc Klaas gave up his lucrative rental car franchise to pursue an aggressive child safety agenda. In announcing the formation of the non-profit KlaasKids Foundation in September, 1994 Mr. Klaas said, “we can give meaning to Polly’s death and create a legacy in her name that will be protective of children for generations to come by pursuing the singular mission of stopping crimes against children.” Through federal and state legislative efforts Mr. Klaas promotes prevention programs for at-risk youth, stronger sentencing for violent criminals and governmental accountability and responsibility. Mr. Klaas travels extensively through the United States facilitating child safety events, encouraging innovative solutions and proven programs that positively impact crime, abuse and neglect that plague children in so many of our communities. He also counsels and advises numerous victim families and families of kidnapped children.

Teaching Kids to be Safe
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