Blue Alerts and Other Types of Emergency Alerts Have to Be Improved
We've all gotten those emergency alerts on our phones. Whether it was an Amber Alert, Silver Alert or Blue Alert, we've seen and heard them go off. And while I have no problem with alerts being sent to our phones, it's time to improve the alert system so that way people won't turn them off or just ignore them completely.
Monday night in Texas was a perfect example of why we have to improve the system. At about 11:21 p.m., Texans all across the state heard and saw their phones going off. Well, at least those who were awake or didn't have the "Do Not Disturb" feature turned on like I did.
The alert that was sent out was a Blue Alert, which Lubbock radio personality Renee Raven explains all about here. The problem with the alert? There was little to no information about the alert, where the alert originated, or why the alert was sent out.
"Law Enforcement Blue Alert in this this area..."
That doesn't tell me or anyone else very much. And when I see "in this area," I normally think about my city or neighborhood. For some reason, this Blue Alert, which originated in Jolly, Texas, which is just southeast of Wichita Falls, was sent to people all over the state. We got the alert in Lubbock, and so did people in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Houston.
That's a pretty big area. And it's also an example of why people silence these type of alerts. It doesn't always make sense for alerts to be sent across the entire state. If people continue getting alerts on their phones that have nothing to do with their area, eventually they will ignore the alert or just turn off being notified of such alerts.
Instead, why not have a system in place that sends the alert to cell phones within a 100-mile radius, then expand the alert radius after a certain amount of time? This way, people will know that if their phone goes off, there really is a situation that could be close by.
In the case of Amber Alerts, that's not always possible, but in many other cases it is. I seriously doubt anyone in Houston needed to get a vague alert about a shooting that occurred more than five hours away.
We should absolutely keep the alert systems going. We just need to figure out a better system that won't cause people to ignore what is being sent to them.