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In the past seven months, there have been five Amber Alerts issued in Ontario.
Despite this, residents still take it upon themselves to call 9-1-1 to complain when the alert disrupts them.
- There is a way to avoid getting Amber Alerts on your phone
- Amber Alert cancelled after two young boys found safe in Toronto: police
According to police, on Wednesday, July 10, shortly after 1:30 pm, 70-year-old Leo Easton was with his two grandchildren when he dropped off his wife at a plaza across the street from Southlake Regional Health Centre, in the area of Davis Drive and Lundy’s Lane.
Easton was supposed to park the 2006 Blue Pontiac Montana van that he was driving, however, investigators believe that for unknown reasons he drove away from the area.
Just after 3 am on Thursday morning, an Amber Alert was issued to notify residents of two boys, aged two and four-years-old, who were last seen in Newmarket with their 70-year-old grandfather.
But, as a direct result of the Amber Alert, the man and his two grandsons were located by the Toronto Police driving on Lakeshore Boulevard. Police said they were all in good health.
As a direct result of the Amber Alert Mr. Easton and his two grandchildren were located by the Toronto Police Service driving on Lakeshore Blvd in Toronto. They are all in good health. We thank everyone for their assistance.
— York Regional Police (@YRP) July 11, 2019
But after the alert was issued, Toronto Police said its communications centre received “dozens” of calls from citizens using it as a platform to complain about be awaken by the Amber Alert.
Despite the obvious importance of the alerts, police are still reminding residents that 9-1-1 is for emergencies only, and to keep the communication centre’ s lines free.
9-1-1 is for emergencies only. Following the @YRP #AmberAlert, 2 children & their grandfather were located. However, we have been receiving dozens of complaint calls. Please do not block 9-1-1 lines with non-emergencies, as you are risking the health & safety of others. ^adc
— Toronto Police OPS (@TPSOperations) July 11, 2019
Similar to the previously issued alerts, residents are still failing to understand the significance of an Amber Alert and continue to react poorly to it.
According to the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCFCP), an Amber Alert can only be activated by police agencies and is only issued for the most dangerous child abduction cases, when time is of the essence.
While criteria for issuing an Amber Alert may vary from province to province, basic requirements include:
- The child is under the age of 18;
- There is a belief that the child has been abducted;
- There is a belief that the child is in imminent danger;
- There is information to be released that may help locate the child and/or the abductor (e.g. description of the child, the suspect or the vehicle driven by the abductor)
- An Amber Alert must also be issued “within a reasonable amount of time” from the moment of the abduction.