The BC Silver Alert is one year old this month.
A Year of Silver Alerts
Last year when we went “live” we had our first Silver Alert (a missing person, publicized by an official agency, who met the criteria) in just the first few hours of operation. Thankfully, that alert like so many of the others this year, ended with the person being found safely, and returned to their loved ones.
Unfortunately, of the 35 alerts we published this year, one of the missing people was never found.
We would like to thank each and every one of our subscribers – people who follow us on Twitter, Facebook, by email or RSS – who faithfully read our alerts and who amplify the signal, and promote the inclusion of the public as part of the safety net for these vulnerable missing people.
Because of you, approximately 200,000 people were notified directly through our channels, and untold thousands more through sharing those messages. Because of you between 5000 and 10,000 people were notified for each missing person.
Because of your support, we’ve approached the government and other officials to ask why there’s no alerting system like this, supported through official channels, for the most vulnerable people in our communities. We’ve heard your comments, and we hope you have contacted your representatives wherever you live to ask that some support be shown for people, for whatever reason, wander from their homes and face the harsh possibility of going missing, and of never being found.
In this first year we’ve discovered that there are far more missing people who meet the criteria for the Silver Alert than we had previously realized. In talking to contacts at the police, the Alzheimer’s societies, and various levels of government we’ve heard about the hundreds of people who wander, and that thankfully most of these are found after a very short time.
We’ve also heard about the few who are not easily found, and the personnel who are required to search for them. And we’ve also heard from the Search and Rescue teams who are eventually called out when police resources are overwhelmed – and whose feedback to us is that it is members of the public who are best able to find these missing people.
This is why we so passionately believe in a targeted, regional alert system that can alert people within the statistical area where people with dementia, Autism, and other cognitive deficits are likely to be found – in back yards, urban wooded areas, gardens and out buildings. In public places where, if they don’t get assistance, they can perish in the middle of the community who could so easily find them if they only knew.
Tomorrow, the founders of the BC Silver Alert will take part in the second annual Walk for Shin – one of the missing people who inspired this effort to create our own Silver Alert. The walk is on Saturday, September 19, 2015 | 9:00 am at the Eagle Ridge United Church, 2813 Glen Drive, Coquitlam. We would love to see you there to support this important project. Funds donated on the walk go toward supporting this web site and the software that runs the BC Silver Alert. You can also donate online.