INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — While there are hundreds of missing children reported in Indiana, police say only 21 amber alerts were activated in the state over the past ten years.
There’s a specific set of guidelines a case must meet to become an Amber Alert and police said if it’s used too much it’s simply not as effective.
“An Amber Alert is not a give all, save all to locating a child it’s just one tool of many that’s used by law enforcement to try and locate an abducted child,” Indiana State Police Captain David Bursten said.
According to state police, there were two Amber Alerts activated so far this year and seven last year.
In the case of a 5-month-old, police believed he had been abducted by his mother over the weekend and in the case of two missing 13-year-old girls in Carroll County, there were no Amber Alerts, but police said information was quickly given out to the public.
“If we put out an Amber Alert every time a child ran away or didn’t come home on time and mom and dad didn’t know where they were, on average we would have an Amber Alert every 45 minutes, 24 hours a day,” Bursten said.
Bursten said for a case to qualify, the child must be under 18 years old and in imminent danger of death or bodily injury. There must be substantial descriptive information on a possible abductor and a request from the investigating agency.
“Since Amber Alert’s inception there have been 857 children recovered directly because of an amber alert,” Robert Lowery said.
He’s the vice president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. He credits the Amber Alert system for helping children who have been abducted.
“We’re doing a pretty good job I think here in the U.S. We can always do better, we’re always striving to do better when it comes to protecting our children and we can never let our guard down,” Lowery said.
Over the past ten years in Indiana, police said only two children who had Amber Alerts issued were found dead.