In just under ten months, there have been six Amber Alerts issued in Ontario.
Yet, despite this, residents still take it upon themselves to call 9-1-1 to complain when the alert disrupts them.
According to police, on Tuesday, October 1, an Amber Alert was issued in Toronto just before 5 pm following the alleged abduction of five children in the Niagara Region.
According to detectives from the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS), the Child Abuse Unit is conducting an abduction investigation into the whereabouts of the missing children, and authorities are concerned for the welfare and safety of the children.
- See also:
The NRPS investigation has revealed that between September 19 and 25, 2019, the children were taken from the family home in Jordan, ON, by their 49-year-old father, Ian Glenn MacDermid.
Police have also revealed the children are subject to a temporary custody order and their father is in contravention of the order by failing to return them.
As a result of the Amber Alert, the father was seen in the Niagara Region driving a 2002, red four-door Toyota Camry with Ontario Licence plate CJMB 976.
However, police say the children were not with MacDermid and their current whereabouts remain unknown.
Additionally, while the original Amber Alert expired, the five children are still missing and the investigation remains on-going.
— NRPS (@NiagRegPolice) October 2, 2019
But after the alert was issued, Toronto Police said the operations still received calls from the public complaining about the Amber Alert.
Despite the obvious importance of the alerts, police are still reminding residents that 9-1-1 is for emergencies only.
“[Please] do NOT call police to complain, instead find compassion and have the understanding to help locate these children! Amber Alerts are issued for a reason!” wrote Toronto Police officer Allex Li, on Twitter.
ATTENTION: The @TorontoPolice & @TPSOperations have been receiving calls from the public complaining about the #AmberAlert. Pls do NOT call police to complain, instead find compassion & have the understanding to help locate these children! #AmberAlerts🚨 are issued for a reason. https://t.co/TY9a2cV06Q
— Alex Li (@CopWhoLovesCars) October 2, 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); and
- An Amber Alert must also be issued “within a reasonable amount of time” from the moment of the abduction.