AMBER alerts to the rescue

Recent child abduction emphasizes use of emergency alert systems


Siena Coco Stenzler

Siena Coco Stenzler and Sofia Kozlova

WEB EXCLUSIVE | On Sunday, 2-year-old Jacob Jardine was reported kidnapped from his mother’s car, after which an AMBER alert was sent out, alerting the public of the child’s disappearance.  

AMBER alerts were developed in 1996 as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagermen who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas. AMBER alerts are meant to alert the general public and authorities about abduction victims and often provide physical descriptions or vehicle information.  

“If I were a parent and my child went missing, I would want an AMBER alert to go off, so I know everyone is aware of the disappearance,” sophomore Kate Richardson said. “When the most recent AMBER alert went off, I was glad that I was informed so I could do my part to help the kid and his family.”

Jardine was found safe in Sunnyvale, four miles from the reported abduction site 13 hours from his reported disappearance, according to SFGATE

“When I receive the AMBER alert noise from my phone, it meets its goal of getting my attention,” librarian Alyson Barrett said. “I take the time to read the AMBER alert and have some emotional response.”

AMBER alerts have saved 1,085 children as of Nov. 24, 2021 and also are used to deter individuals who prey on children, according to the AMBER alert website. In 2021, there were roughly 60,346 missing children in California, according to the Department of Justice

“I really do feel alarmed or have some great care related to what is happening with the alert,” Barrett said. “It definitely always gets my attention and shifts my focus to what’s happening.”

In order to initiate an AMBER alert, it must be confirmed that a minor has been abducted, that they could be in danger of harm or death and that sending out the alert could assist in locating the victim according to California Highway Patrol

“Technology has evolved so much and allows the search to be beyond just the authorities and parents and friends looking,” Richardson said. “While you’re looking around you can feel like you are doing your part in the community and for the child.”