Sacto 9-1-1
July 23, 2012
Update: California's Amber Alert credited with recovering 234 children safely

Officials today touted the success of the Amber Alert program, which this month marks its tenth year of operation statewide.

The program began in Texas in 1996 after the abduction and killing of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman. The program was enacted regionally in California in 1999 and on July 31, 2002 was adopted statewide.

"The State of California needed a system to assist in recovering our children safe and sound," said former state Sen. George Runner, who wrote the original bill to create the state's system.

Since its statewide inception, 234 abducted children have been safely recovered, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

The CHP is responsible for statewide coordination of Amber Alert. Amber Alerts are intended only for the most serious, time-sensitive child abduction cases.

Quoting U.S. Department of Justice statistics, the CHP says that 74 percent of children abducted and later found dead were killed within three hours of being kidnapped.

The alerts use radio, television, websites and highway information signs to get the word out about possible abductions.

Amber alert statistics for 2011

• Amber Alert activations: 16

• Victims recovered: 18

• Stranger abductions: 2

• Parental abductions: 6

• Acquaintance abductions: 3

• Hoaxes: 3

• Unfounded: 2

• Suspects apprehended: 8

• Alerts requested but not activated: 13

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