Activation Criteria

Activation Criteria

The New York State AMBER Alert Plan can be activated when an investigating law enforcement agency has reasonable cause to believe that:

  • An abduction of a child (under the age of 18) has occurred, and
  • The child is believed to be in danger of serious bodily harm and/or death, either due to the actions of another or due to a proven mental or physical condition.

Even if formal activation criteria have been met, activation may be impractical if available information is not specific enough and/or an extended period of time passed since the disappearance.

Information for Law Enforcement:

"Reasonable Cause to Believe" means that from eyewitness accounts, OR by eliminating other possibilities, the investigation leads to the belief that a child has been abducted.

Familial abductions qualify only if a child is endangered by the actions of the abducting family member. Consider threats or use of violence while taking a child or a history of child abuse against a child, spouse or partner.

Whenever an AMBER Alert request does not meet activation criteria, requesting agencies are referred to other State Police investigative resources and to the Missing Persons Clearinghouse (MPC) for possible issuance of a Missing Child/College Student Alert.