BCTA is part of the RCMP’s Amber Alert network within BC, and members take part by joining our Amber Alert distribution list. The Missing Children Society of Canada, which handles outreach for situations that don’t meet strict Amber Alert requirements, would value your participation in its Search Program, including a new digital alert network, as well.
For RCMP to issue an Amber Alert, all of the following criteria must exist:
The victim is under the age of 18;
Police have reasonable grounds to believe that the victim has been abducted;
Police have reasonable grounds to believe the victim is in imminent danger;
Police have obtained enough descriptive information about the victim, abductor and/or the vehicle involved; and
Police believe that the alert can be issued in a time frame that will provide a reasonable expectation that the child can be returned or the abductor apprehended.
What happens for children and families in other scenarios, especially longer term investigations?
MCSC was established in 1986 to assist people in these cases, and works alongside all types of government agencies, including municipal and provincial police, the RCMP, and the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, among many others. Recently, MCSC has also increased the power and reach of its Search Program by, with the assistance of volunteer companies and individuals, harnessing smartphone technology and social media to launch geographically specific alerts when a child goes missing anywhere in Canada. The Search Program includes the following components:
CodeSearch: CodeSearch creates a connected, “smart” network of digital volunteers who receive “push” notifications (a message that pops up on a smartphone) whenever there is an Amber Alert or Urgent Child Search Alert in their area (where a child has gone missing or may show up). CodeSearch works via a downloadable smartphone app. BCTA members who become CodeSearch partners receive an activation code for the app, which they can then share with their employees – truck drivers and anyone else who would like to download the app and sign up to assist.
MCSC profiles over 400 missing children cases annually, but individual volunteers can, on average, expect fewer than 10 push notifications per year, based on their location. Click here for additional details.
Most Valuable Network: Companies and individuals may also donate their social feeds on Twitter and Facebook to allow MCSC to automatically post alerts to these accounts. The information comes directly from police and again is geographically specific. MCSC does not keep any personal information related to social accounts and has no access to an account password. Click here to learn how to sign up.
Media: Separately, MCSC also partners with Marketwired, which provides alert distribution to thousands of news media outlets across Canada.
If you would like to take part in this network, you can learn more by visiting mcsc.ca, which includes additional details about the organization and other ways it assists in finding missing children and supporting their families. To learn more about the Search Program specifically, click here. Note that you may choose to help as a CodeSearch partner or via the Most Valuable Network – or both.
MCSC welcomes your questions. Please feel free to contact Rebecca Harrow, Partnership Experience Manager, at 1-800-661-6160, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alberta Motor Transport Association formally partnered with MCSC on September 13, 2017. Please see AMTA’s media release for details. BCTA is maintaining our Amber Alert distribution list; the MCSC Search Program is another, more extended way to assist for members who are interested.
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