Monday is International AMBER Alert Awareness Day as a way to honour 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas on January 13, 1996.

Ontario is one of three provinces to use the system. The other two are British Columbia and Quebec.

The OPP says the system was activated eight times in Ontario in 2019, which includes 12 abducted children. 11 of the 12 were safely located and six of the eight suspects have since been arrested. The police add all the abductions were family-related.

The alerts are done through a system called Alert Ready. “Alert Ready was designed to deliver critical and potentially life-saving alerts to Canadians,” the OPP says. “It was developed with many partners including federal, provincial, and territorial government agencies, Pelmorex, the broadcasting industry and wireless service providers.”

It’s become common after an AMBER Alert is sent out to see people complain about being woken up by it, or about how the abducted child is far away from where they are. “Once a child is abducted there is no way to determine the exact location the abductor is headed,” the OPP says. They point out that the suspect involved in the AMBER Alert in May 2019 had travelled 400 kilometres from the time the alert was sent out to the time the person was apprehended.

Written by Mathew Reisler