Monday, October 29, 2007

Idling Cars and Amber Alert

Dear guy who had his SUV stolen on Saturday evening while his two-year-old daughter was sleeping in the backseat,

I am happy that the car was found with the girl safe and sound, but you, sir, are an idiot. You were probably going into Mac's for a very short period of time and it was far easier to leave your daughter asleep in the car - I can understand that. But what I can't understand, and what should get more attention than it will, is why you would leave your daughter in the SUV and also leave the doors unlocked and the engine running. Horrible horrible horrible. Neglectful. It's bad enough to do that anywhere, and you just happened to do it in the city known as the Car Theft Capital of North America. Had you taken the keys with you and locked all the doors it's safe to assume that this incident would not have happened. This was likely a crime of opportunity. Someone saw your idling car with no one around and thought, hey, why not. They probably didn't notice your daughter in the backseat as they drove away, but as soon as they did notice her they stopped the car and got the hell away on foot. There are some people who, especially in colder weather, start their cars in the morning then let it idle and heat up while they go back inside their homes. More often than you'd think the car then gets stolen, and the owners don't give the whole truth because they'll look foolish. Go ahead and continue to leave your car unattended, unlocked, and idling, but don't ever ever do it with a child in the vehicle. I would think that would be obvious enough, but obviously it's not.


And now to the Amber Alert program, a very important program that seems so easy to implement in cases such as the above, but apparently it's not. From this MSN news site, here are some details:
  • E-Comm, the province's emergency centre, is responsible for alerting local radio station CKNW when an Amber Alert is issued. CKNW is then responsible for circulating the information to other media outlets.
  • At 9:50pm on Saturday, the girl's father entered a convenience store in Surrey, B.C., leaving his daughter asleep in his idling, unlocked SUV.
  • The SUV was then stolen with the child in the backseat. Her father ran back into the store and immediately called 911.
  • An Amber Alert was issued for the toddler at 10:30pm, but CKNW was not notified of the alert until 11:02pm.
  • The radio station broadcasted the alert at 11:31pm and CTV News was formally notified of the emergency at 11:32pm.
  • By this time, the child had already been found.
So the gist of it is that it took an hour and forty minutes after the incident for the Amber Alert to be broadcast - and if CKNW was notified at 11:02pm, why didn't they broadcast the alert at 11:03pm instead of half an hour later? It's all extremely disappointing.


cher said...

no kidding it's disappointing. ok, i'll be right back. i have to go get my kids out of the car. i think it's still running too.

jblueafterglow said...

ah cher, you so funny! you know, i had actually thought the news story was about you until i heard it was the father involved.. how was the halloween party? will we see pics on your blog soon?