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Amber Alert: facts and figures about the procedure

Mar 14, 2018

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Montreal police issued an Amber Alert on Tuesday afternoon for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou, a 10-year-old boy who went missing Monday. Late on Tuesday night, they lifted the alert. Some facts about the Amber Alert in general:

WHEN USED: They are typically reserved for the most dangerous, time-critical abduction cases where there is imminent danger and where there is enough information for citizens to help track down the missing child.

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ORIGIN: Named for Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old American girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996. It prompted her community of Arlington, Texas, to create the AMBER (America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert program. Nobody has been arrested in her murder.

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CANADA: Used in every province, beginning with Alberta in 2002. In Saskatchewan, it can also be issued for missing Alzheimer’s or dementia patients.

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HOW DOES IT WORK: Depending on the jurisdiction, the system uses local media, provincial Transport Department signs on highways and other tools to reach citizens and alert them to cases. In Ontario and Quebec, alerts are also sent on lottery terminal screens.

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NUMBERS: The RCMP said 59 per cent of reports involving missing children in Canada in 2016 were withdrawn within 24 hours and in 92 per cent of cases within a week. Most of the kidnappers are parents, according to the Mounties.

— Compiled by Sidhartha Banerjee

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