Law Enforcement

Life-Or-Death Technology: Flock Can Now Broadcast AMBER Alerts to Help Find Missing Kids Across the Country

May 21, 2021

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Law Enforcement

Life-Or-Death Technology: Flock Can Now Broadcast AMBER Alerts to Help Find Missing Kids Across the Country

In August of 2020, one-year-old Mateo Montufar-Barrera was lounging in a stroller as his mother walked him around their Chamblee, Georgia neighborhood. But their calm lunchtime walk was shattered when, at 12:30 p.m., a man pulled up next to them in a car, pulled out a gun, and kidnapped Mateo.

Mateo’s kidnapping activated an AMBER Alert, a federal system designed to notify as many organizations and people as possible about urgent child abductions. All the investigators had to go on was the mother’s eyewitness account of the kidnapper, including a description of the maroon Acura SUV he had driven and a license plate tag number.

Using the power of Flock Safety’s License Plate Recognition camera network, the Chamblee Police Department was able to find the vehicle speeding away from the city on a highway. They sprang into action and apprehended the suspect. Mateo was returned to his mother later that same day, thankfully unharmed.

We are thankful that this story had a happy ending, but this scary occurrence happens every day around the country. The non-profit National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) assisted law enforcement and families with more than 29,800 cases of missing children in 2020.

In An AMBER Alert Situation, Time Is In Short Supply

One child missing is too many. That’s why today, Flock Safety is thrilled to announce an official distribution partnership with the NCMEC to engage our nationwide network of ALPR cameras to broadcast time-sensitive active AMBER Alerts to local law enforcement. The NCMEC’s mission to help find missing children, reduce child exploitation, and prevent child victimization is strongly aligned with Flock Safety’s North Star of eliminating crime.

NCMEC is the administrator of the AMBER Alert Secondary Dissemination System, a voluntary partnership between law enforcement, broadcasters, and private companies to use technology to alert the community of the most urgent child abduction cases. If you’ve ever received an AMBER Alert notification on your mobile phone, or seen an electronic billboard broadcasting details about a missing child to the roadway, you’ve seen the power of this system.

Prior to this alliance, Flock Safety manually activated its camera system to help law enforcement in cities like Atlanta, Wichita, and Memphis solve seven AMBER Alerts including the case above. Now, 600+ police agencies in 40 states and 1000+ cities can receive automatic alerts about vehicles associated with an active AMBER Alert in their jurisdiction, similarly to any other Flock Hotlist alert.

“Joining the AMBER Alert Secondary Dissemination System scales our ability to empower local law enforcement with the latest in machine learning-powered ALPR technology and computer vision insights to bring these children home to their families safely.”

— Garrett Langley, Flock Safety Co-Founder and CEO

Private owners of Flock cameras, such as community HOAs, neighborhood associations, property managers, and business owners, can also participate in this life-saving partnership by choosing to share their camera data with local law enforcement.

“During an Amber Alert, time is the enemy. It is imperative for us to utilize every tool possible to reach the community and search for a missing child. The relationship with Flock Safety will allow us to take that search a step further and search active roadways, as well.”

— John Bischoff, Vice President of NCMEC’s Missing Children Division

To learn more about the Flock Safety camera technology for neighborhoods, click here. To explore Flock for Police solutions, click here.

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