Amber Alert Received on Cell Phones in California

    August 6, 2013
    Lindsay McCane
    Comments are off for this post.

For the first time, in California, an Amber Alert was issued to California residents via text message.

The Amber Alert was issued after Christina Anderson’s suspected killer, James Lee DiMaggio, allegedly kidnapped her two children: Hannah Anderson, 16, and Ethan Anderson, 8. The alert was vague and only included information about DiMaggio’s blue Nissan and his California license plate. The alert did not describe the circumstances surrounding the emergency.

The 10-second, high pitched alarm, that sounded with the message, irritated and even angered some customers. The producer for KQED Science, Craig Rosa, says he was in his car along with his wife when both of their phones started buzzing “with an alert 10 times louder than any other alert on the phone. We had no idea what it was. Almost ran off the road trying to shut the things off.”

Many of the newer phones are already set up to receive the Wireless Emergency Alerts that look like text messages but are free, which means that customers must contact their cell phone service provider to opt out of the program. If they choose not to opt out, customers will receive alerts that are tailored to their geographic region.

The participating service providers include AT&T, Cellcom, Cricket, Sprint, Nextel, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless and Bluegrass Cellular. The alerts are not based on the cell phone numbers; they are determined by the the cell phone’s proximity to the cell phone towers within a certain location. CHP spokeswoman Fran Clader said, “If you’re from Texas and that’s where your phone number is based and you’re traveling in California at the time of the Amber Alert, you’ll receive the text message about the Amber Alert in California on your Texas-based phone.”

If you didn’t receive the alert on your phone, you can contact the homicide detail at (858) 974-2321 or San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477 if you have any information about the location of Hannah and Ethan.

  • Wendy

    I am sick and tired of all the complaints about the new California Cell Phone Amber Alert Notifications. God forbid if it’s your child being held in the car next to that one person that could have saved your child’s life but it was too inconvenient for them to take the time to read the Alert or worse yet they turn off the notifications. Where’s your compassion people????

    • scooned

      Its the same people that cut you off on the freeway and cause an accident because their time is more important than yours. Screw everyone’s safety, they must get home to watch the finale of the Voice!

  • Paula

    There are precious few minutes when someone is abducted to have a good outcome. How many horror stories do we have to listen to about abductions ending in death to get the drift fast response is the key. Instead of turning off the alert how about reading it and looking for the vehicle. As a grandmother and mother I am all for rapid response. They will probably sue because of the distruption. The alert was not too loud. Got your attention. Way to go !!

  • Sarah

    I think its a great new way to spread out the word! to really help out and keep an eye out! I see many people complaining about it so there for their should be an approve or deny app for this. As for me.. i approve! send me any amber alert in my area!


    Angry because they received an Amber Alert?!?! Is this what society has become? Those bothered are lower than pathetic. Guarantee you if their child was missing they would be very thankful for this service. They would probably complain because it didn’t go out fast enough. I live near where these kids lived and I hope they find them safe, and soon.

    • Jorge

      I’m all for the alert but the manner in which it was sent was inappropriate.

  • Teresia

    I think it’s great that technology affords us the opportunity to be made aware of abductions and BOL expeditiously. It could save the life of a loved one or friend.

  • http://www.simonvisionmedia.com Mr. Simon

    I dont mind the Amber Alert but you don’t have to make the alert override the rest of the phones system so loudly. I would rather go directly to concerned opposed to concerned, pissed about the loud alarm, then concerned again.

  • http://www.simonvisionmedia.com Mr. Simon

    I dont mind an Amber Alert, its great to be informed. But don’t override my phone system so loudly that I go from startled to concerned to pissed then back to concerned. Tone down the alert so I can simply be concerned and possibly help;)

    • what is wrong with people?

      They are supposed to be loud so they grab your attention and get you to look at the alert immediately. Every second counts.

    • Christie

      Wow. I hope it’s never your kid that’s abducted

  • what is wrong with people?

    Craig Rosa – what a jackass…I hate this type of person that would complain over an amber alert going off.

    • lando

      we all support the alert but serious people were a sleep with their kids as we were and all of a suddon u have your phone controlled and put on max volume for an alert that u can’t do much about when your at home a sleep with your kids. Think about it.

      • ThinkAboutIt

        Yeah. Gee. Certainly they know which cell subscribers are at home asleep with their kids. Think about it.

  • jbroce

    I’m fine with them doing it, but when you don’t even know they CAN do it, it can catch you off guard. Would be nice if they sent out a normal text letting us know that they will start doing amber alerts to phones. I think a little warning or prior info is all anyone really wanted.

  • what is wrong with people?

    This says a lot about the sad state of our society. Self-centered and absolutely no compassion for others. No one wants to be bothered to help anyone. Even if it takes just a couple seconds to look at an abduction alert. Sad. Very sad.

  • xrider

    I received the Amber Alert (and I support Amber Alerts) but the way they delivered it was not proper or even efficient. It was loud and would startle you and others around you, and it was not a typical text message. The moment one swiped the phone screen to read the message, it was gone and one could not retrieve it. So the alert was pretty much useless. They kept sending the Alert every 10 to 20 minutes in the same fashion. At one point I honestly thought it was some type of scam.

  • sandy

    This is great! anyone complains is simply stupid!

  • Gabe

    They obviously weren’t angry that they got an amber alert people….they were pissed about the eardrum shattering sound that they have never heard come out of their phone. They did this in Florida months ago at 3 am we had a reason to be pissed.

    • lando

      Kind of scary the kind of control these company (corps and government) have. We were a sleep our phones were on silent and both my and my wife phone went max volume and woke us and our toddler up…dismiss my grammar but serious that s hit was scary.

  • Rob S.

    This was stupid for the following reasons: 1) The amber alert was for SoCal, I received it and I live in NorCal. 2) There was minimal info about the issue. I got a description of a car a license plate and that was about it. 3) The message was not a standard text, you had to search for it after swiping your phone. 4) It was too loud and intrusive, which has prompted me to turn this feature off.

    • lando

      I just posted earlier and we don’t dis agree with the alert and we do ha e a daughter but the way our phones were controled and woke us all up when phones were on silent makes u think about a lot of things….just scary I’m just saying.

  • John

    WHAAAAA WHAAAA (crying) my phone was loud.. It scared me because it ring, like phone suppose to ring .. WHAAAAA WHAAAA (crying) my phone made loud sound, not suppose to make sound like that, confused me from sound ,,,,, It went BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEP. WHAAAA. STFU!!!

    • phil

      John, since you don’t seem to mind, post your cell number and I’ll happily call you some time in the next 3 weeks around 11 – 6 am.

  • Charlene

    I do support the Amber Alert system, it seems a lot of people don’t understand how intrusive the noise on the phone was and how often people got the amber alert text. I was out driving and my phone made this extremely loud beeping sound, which is much louder than any notification you get from the phone, it would also send another alert 5-10 mins after the last one with the same loud tone. Also as the picture above stated, it did not have much information except the area and the license plate number, not giving much people info on what is happening. The reason why some people turned the alert off is because it sends the message more than once and is very intrusive. As I have stated before, I do support the Amber Alert system and I do think it is useful, they just need to:

    1. Give more information in the amber alert, as to possibly the name of the child being kidnapped and a little more info on what happened

    2. Not use the extremely loud ringing tone. Since it is a type of message, it should use the message settings that a person has set in their phone

    3. Don’t send multiple messages of the same thing. The amber alert system managed to send people multiple texts 5-15 mins constantly and the information was the same. They should send another message if something has changed.

  • Julie

    If anyone wants to know how to turn it off and they have an iPhone = settings – notifications – scroll all the way down. Your phone needs to be updated for this to go through. I hate kids and I don’t care, don’t wake me up! Hope I helped someone escape this!

    • ScrewJulie

      Julie, you are a pathetic excuse for a human being. Hate kids?? I got news for ya! You were once a kid. Plus, this is a human being we’re talking about. People like you are worthless to society.

    • Frannie

      What a terrible thing to say Julie! I don’t care much for children either, and I’d rather let other people have them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care if one is abducted or killed. You, Julie, is one of the reasons why society sucks nowadays. Hope I helped someone escape this.

  • Jan

    I’m saddned to see how many people are upset because they got a (yes) very loud amber alert. Yes, I was startled but very thankful that I received it on my phone, it did its job and got my attention. Most of the time you only get it on the News (radio/TV) or on over the highway signs. I was thankful for this new way of being alerted. It made me more aware so that i could be on the lookout for this vehicle. Otherwise, I may not have heard about it until the next day on the news. I only received it twice and it was in my messeges as all my other messeges are. I am a mother/grandmother and would be so greatful for this way of getting the publics attention if it were one of my children. Which is more important, a few minutes lost sleep or a little loud noise or the loss of children because we weren’t informed. Think about it!!!

    • Kathy

      I wouldn’t have minded if I wasn’t asleep. But the sirens from both our phones (on either side of the bed!) was the scariest thing! I understand that different cell companies broadcast the Amber Alert at different times, but really…what was I going to do about it @ 11 pm from my bed? I’d already seen the Amber Alert several times that day and had no information to provide. I have since opted out of the Amber Alerts, as there are always several other media sources I regularly check.

  • TVA

    I received it and it didn’t bother me but I couldn’t read it b/c it was only on my phone for a split second and then it disappeared. It’s not in my messages folder so I couldn’t look it up and had no idea what it was. Does anyone know how to access the actual alert?

  • Bob

    It’s OK. I just went into my phone and turned the Amber Alerts off and I wont be bothered again. I see the Amber Alerts on the highway signs anyway, so there is no reason to wake me up.

    Turning them off is easy.
    On Android, you can go into the settings in the messaging app to turn them off.
    On the iPhone, just go into settings, go to notifications, and scroll all the way down to see Government Alerts.