This seems to be an ongoing topic of heated debate. Let's see if we can clear up some of the confusion.
Criteria for issuing an Amber Alert
What are the criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts? Each state AMBER Alert plan has its own criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts. The PROTECT Act, passed in 2003, which established the role of AMBER Alert Coordinator within the Department of Justice (DOJ), calls for DOJ to issue minimum standards or guidelines for AMBER Alerts that states can adopt voluntarily. DOJ's guidance on criteria for issuing AMBER Alerts is:
Why can't law enforcement issue an Amber Alert for ALL missing children?
To answer this let's take a look at some numbers.
A child goes missing every 41 seconds
2,100 children are reported missing every day
800,000 per year
upwards of 500,000 more per year are never reported
It would be logistically impossible to post every child on the Amber Alert System.
If the Amber Alert System ran continuously people would not pay attention to it and it would become ineffective. It would become just another flashing sign to ignore on the highway.
The sad fact is that to keep the system running effectively for the best chance of recovery criteria must remain in place.
Because of the Amber Alert System over 500 children have been recovered. The system is working.