Why was there no mobile Amber Alert for missing Detroit teen?

Deontae Mitchell
Deontae Mitchell

DETROIT – Smart phone users are used to being alerted about Amber Alerts in their area.

On Wednesday, police issued an Amber Alert in Detroit after they say a 45-year-old man abducted a 13 year-old boy in Detroit outside of a neighborhood market.

READ: Suspect in abduction of missing Detroit teen arrested; Body found could be missing teen

The Amber Alert was issued around 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, but the mobile alert, usually sent by police, was never broadcasted.

So, what's the reasoning? 

According to Michigan State Police, a wireless alert is only sent out for an Amber Alert if police have a license plate number of the suspect's vehicle.

In this case, police only had a description of the vehicle, but no plate number.

ALSO SEE: How do police decide to issue an Amber Alert

In addition to Amber Alerts, the program includes National Weather Service, Presidential and imminent threat alerts. If you own a capable mobile device, you will automatically receive these alerts when you are in the geographic area where an alert has been issued.

Because the alerts are sent on a special wireless carrier channel called Cell Broadcast they are not affected by congestion on the voice or SMS text channels.

The alerts are transmitted simultaneously to all mobile devices within range of the cellular carrier towers in the affected area. The system does not need to know your mobile number and it does not track your whereabouts; it simply broadcasts the alert, and any mobile devices that can "hear" the alert will display it to the user.

Of course, you can get alerts on all Amber Alerts and other breaking news with the ClickOnDetroit app, which is free in your app store -- just search WDIV.

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