Safe in 60: How Amber Alerts are issued in Utah

Mar 5, 2018, 6:35 AM | Updated: 11:09 pm

Amber Alerts can be a scary situation for Utah, but when one is issued in our state, the children are almost always recovered.

Lt. Robin Heiden breaks down why you don’t see an Amber Alert for every missing child:

Since 2002, Utah has issued 49 Amber Alerts, an average of two to three alerts each year. We’ve recovered more than 90 percent of them, because of the Amber Alert.

I believe Utah is so successful because of the strict criteria that we have to meet.

  • Most importantly, we have to believe the child is at risk of serious bodily injury or death.
  • We need to have a description of either the suspect or the vehicle.
  • The child has to be 17 years old or younger.
  • And law enforcement has to believe that that child has been abducted.

Hundreds of children are reported missing each year in Salt Lake City. Most of them are found at a friend’s house, and some are runaways.

We reserve the Amber Alert for those serious cases where we do believe a child has been abducted.

Utah is one of the best states in the nation because of how well we follow the rules of the Amber Alert. Some other states issue 30-50 alerts a year. That frequency makes the alert much less effective.

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Safe in 60: How Amber Alerts are issued in Utah