Hotline Will Make Amber Alert System Even Better - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hotline Will Make Amber Alert System Even Better

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The San Diego County Sheriff's Department will soon be armed with a new way to fight crime. An Amber Alert hotline will be up and running starting Tuesday. It will make it a lot easier for agencies to receive and pass on information about missing children.

It was a Chula Vista case in March of last year. Under Sheriff Bill Gore remembers it well.

"Sixteen-year-old female who was abducted by a 20-year-old male suspect," he said.

He is speaking about the last Amber Alert that originated from San Diego County. Last year statewide, 24 were issued, and nationally, children are abducted at a staggering rate.

"Seventy-five percent of those victims are killed within the first three hours," Gore said.

It's why starting on Tuesday, San Diego County will be the first in the state to adopt a toll-free Amber Alert hotline.

"It turns this county into one giant neighborhood watch program," Gore said.

The number is 1-877-3-KIDSAFE. If you see something suspicious, you are urged to call 911, but if you happen to recall something throughout your day that just doesn't sit right, that's when you pick up your phone and call the hotline.

The number will also appear on those giant LED highway signs, along with information on the suspect.

"Hopefully it will make the recovery a lot faster," Gore said.

This one-stop shop number will make it easier for law enforcement to pass on critical information from the public.

"Our call center will be familiar with an Amber Alert that is issued and well immediately get it into the hands of the investigator," Gore said.

In the case of the 16-year-old abducted in Chula Vista, she was found safe and returned, but maybe with a number like this, it could have been days sooner.

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