Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

August 23, 2013

Amber Alerts save lives

VALDOSTA — A week ago, an 8-month-old baby boy was abducted by a family friend. Police issued an Amber Alert with a description of the vehicle and the license plate, and an alert citizen spotted the car, calling police. After a short chase, the woman was arrested and the baby was rescued unharmed. Best possible outcome for all involved.

A high-profile case in California this month of a man abducting a girl and killing her mother and brother was also resolved largely thanks to alert citizens and an Amber Alert.

Despite these successes, backlash is spreading against the alert system. The loud alert bypasses the quiet mode on most phones and can sound off at any time of the day or night. Some consider the alerts an intrusion and are searching the Internet for instructions on how to disable the function on their phones.

While the alarm is loud and can sound off at inconvenient times, the entire purpose of the alert system is to do a mass notification as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence when a child has been abducted, and the system can only be activated  by authorities when there is an immediate danger to the child.

Considering the success of the alerts, with two cases resolved and children returned safely to their families, a momentary intrusion seems a minor inconvenience in comparison.

Individuals who abduct children don’t have good intentions towards that child. Any small intrusion by a mass alert system that may prevent harm coming to a child is surely worth it. Don’t disable the Amber Alert on your phone. There is no way to predict when or where someone will take a child, but when they do, as many people as possible need to be on the lookout for them.

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