When a Silver Alert goes out in Maryland, people listen.
A Silver Alert is issued to broadcast information about a missing person, usually a senior citizen with a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s.
The program began in Maryland in 2009, and since then, 403 Silver Alerts have been issued.
When a law enforcement agency gets a report of a missing person, state police are typically contacted, then the Maryland Emergency Management Agency is alerted. MEMA, in turn, notifies 911 call centers and media outlets to get the word out.
The State Highway Administration is also contacted, and information about the missing person’s vehicle and license plate number is added to the electronic message boards over state highways.
They appear to be growing more effective in Maryland, according to data from the last three years shared by state police.
In 2014, there were 85 requests for Silver Alerts, and 47 people were located as a result.
In 2015, there were 82 requests, leading to 64 missing people being found.
And so far this year, there have been 22 requests for the alerts, leading to the recovery of 19 people to date.