New web tool to help Canadians assist in finding missing children

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Each year thousands of children are reported missing across the country but only few warrant Amber Alerts. Now a new website aims to reach far more people than is currently the case.

Here’s how it works. Based on information provided by police, the society’s Rescu website allows users to view all active cases by geographic region. Names, photographs and other relevant data about a missing child is available at the click of a mouse. Users who might have useful information can provide tips by clicking on the name or picture of the child.

The new web application also allows users register to receive text alerts on their cellphones specific to cases in their area. The faster a child is found, the more likely they can be returned unharmed to safety, data indicate.

Only cases police deem pressing are expected to become alert material, the society said. As a result, those who sign up won’t be bombarded by alerts, or receive both Amber Alerts and Rescu texts.

There’s no charge to users, who won’t be tracked. Tipsters can stay anonymous or provide names and email addresses if they want.

The website, accessible via any computer of smartphone browser without any downloads at rescu.mcsc.ca, is powered by cutting-edge “hub” technology from Toronto-based Esri Canada that allows for the management and dissemination of data.

Police and social-service workers involved with missing children are expected to use the system. It will allow them to share and update information making it a real collaborative effort to ensure child safety.

But a lot depends upon how many Canadians decide it is important enough to get the app on their phones. -CINEWS

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