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What is Silver Alert?

Silver Alert is an Amber Alert for missing seniors.

Silver Alert is a public notification system in the United States to broadcast information about missing persons – especially seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other mental disabilities – in order to aid in their return.

Silver Alerts use a wide array of media outlets—such as commercial radio stations, television stations, and cable TV—to broadcast information about missing persons. Silver Alerts also use variable-message signs on roadways to alert motorists to be on the lookout for missing seniors. In cases in which a missing person is believed to have gone missing on foot, Silver Alerts have used Reverse 911 or other emergency notification systems to notify nearby residents of the neighborhood surrounding the missing person’s last known location.

Supporters of Silver Alert point to America’s growing elderly population as a reason to support new programs to locate missing seniors. Approximately 6 in 10 dementia victims will wander at least once, health care statistics show, and the numbers are growing worldwide, fueled primarily by Alzheimer’s disease. If not found within 24 hours, up to half of wandering seniors with dementia suffer serious injury or death

Silver Alert Legislation

S. 1814, the National Silver Alert Act of 2013, was introduced by Senator Joe Manchin on December 17, 2013. Senators Jay Rockefeller, Amy Klobuchar, Chris Coons, Claire McCaskill and Charles Schumer are original co-sponsors of Silver Alert legislation. S. 1814 directs the Department of Justice to establish a national communications network to assist efforts to assist regional and local search efforts for missing seniors and appoints a Department of Justice officer to serve as the Silver Alert Coordinator.  The National Silver Alert Act would also establish minimum standards for using and disseminating alerts issued through the network. Companion Silver Alert legislation, H.R. 5361, was introduced by Representatives David Joyce (R-OH) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) on July 31, 2014.

Click here for the latest news about Silver Alert legislation.

Silver Alert legislation has been pending in Congress since 2008. In May 2008, Representative Lloyd Doggett introduced the National Silver Alert Act in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill to encourage, enhance, and integrate Silver Alert plans throughout the United States. Similar legislation was filed by Representatives Gus Bilirakis and Sue Myrick. The three bills were combined into a single bill, H.R. 6064. The bill was passed by the House in September 2008 by a voice vote, but the 110th Congress adjourned before it could be considered in the U.S. Senate. The National Silver Alert Act was re-introduced in the 111th Congress as H.R. 632. It was passed by the House of Representatives on February 11, 2009 on a voice vote but was not taken up by the Senate.

35 states and New York City have Silver Alert or a similar program to locate missing seniors. The American Silver Alert Coalition supports state legislative efforts to bring Silver Alert to all 50 states.

Silver Alert Success Stories

Silver Alert implementation varies from state to state. There are no national statistics for the success rates of Silver Alerts. However, among states that publicly release statistics, retrieval rates for Silver Alerts indicate a high level of success.

  • In North Carolina, 128 Silver Alerts were issued in 2008. Of these, 118 seniors were safely recovered.
  • In Georgia, Mattie’s Call has as garnered a safe return for 70 of the 71 calls issued between its inception in 2006 and January 2009.
  • In Texas, the Silver Alert system was invoked 52 times in the first year following its inception in September 2007. Of these alerts, 48 of the missing seniors were located safely, and 13 of these recoveries were directly attributable to Silver Alert.
  • In Florida, 136 Silver Alerts were issued in its first year (2008–2009), leading to 131 safe recoveries. 19 of these recoveries were directly attributable to Silver Alert. Over two years, 227 Silver Alerts have been issued in Florida – with 220 seniors located safely, and 36 of those recoveries attributed directly to the Silver Alert.

About the Coalition

The American Silver Alert Coalition is an alliance of concerned citizens and seniors organizations. We are working together toward the shared goals of enacting Silver Alert programs in all 50 states and passage of federal legislation to support state-level Silver Alert programs.

Recent Articles

21
Mar

Silver Alert Success Story: 83-Year-Old Missouri Man Found in Florida

On March 11, 2018, a Silver Alert issued for 83-year-old Stephen Brown. Brown went missing in St. Charles, Missouri and was found safe 837 miles away in Newport, Florida.

From the article in the Tallahassee Democrat:

Stephen R. Brown was found Monday sitting in a parked car 837 miles from his home in St. Charles, Missouri, and about 65 miles from his destination — Apalachicola.

He was healthy but appeared confused, according to Florida Highway Patrol troopers, who found Brown sitting in a Hyundai Tucson near the St. Marks River bridge in Newport.

A Silver Alert was issued for the 83-year-old in St. Charles at about 8:45 p.m. Sunday.

9
Mar

Silver Alert Success Story: 79-Year-Old Connecticut Man Found in New York

On March 7, 2018, a Silver Alert issued for 79-year-old Tony Capuano. Capuano went missing in Stratford, Connecticut and was found safe in Upstate New York.

From the article in the Connecticut Post:

The Silver Alert was canceled for a missing town man when he was found in upstate New York on Wednesday, police said.

Police said he was found safe and well around 5 p.m. Wednesday. The alert was issued earlier Wednesday morning.

Retired firefighter Tony Capuano, 79, was reported missing by his family Wednesday, police said. He was last seen driving a 2007 grey/blue Chrysler 300. He suffers from dementia and diabetes.

8
Mar

Silver Alert Success Story: 87-Year-Old Indiana Man Found in Illinois

On March 3, 2018 a Silver Alert was issued for 87-year-old John Graul. Graul went missing in New Palestine, Indiana and was found safe 100 miles away in Illinois.

From the story in the Greenfield Reporter:

A missing New Palestine resident was found safe in Illinois shortly after a statewide Silver Alert was declared, asking residents across the region for help finding the senior citizen.

Police say they’re still investigating why 87-year-old John Graul drove away from his home early Saturday.

A neighbor told police he’d seen lights on in Graul’s garage around 3 a.m. Saturday; he called 911 around 8:30 a.m. after finding the man’s garage door standing open, and his car missing from inside, according to emergency dispatch records.

The local sheriff’s deputies who responded to Graul’s home found tire tracks through the man’s front yard, making it look as though he’d driven off in the middle of the night.

They contacted Graul’s family and began searching the area, including checking local hospitals, records show. When Graul wasn’t located, a statewide silver alert was issued around 11:30 a.m.

Graul was found about 30 minutes later in Illinois. His family picked him up and brought him home, police said.