App helps find missing children
A new web-based application aims to help police locate missing children.
Launched Tuesday morning by the Missing Children’s Society of Canada (MCSC), the app continually updates with fresh information from police on missing children in Canada. Users can view active cases by region and submit tips to police through the web app.
The app, called MSCS Rescu, also allows users to sign up for text alerts for specific cases in their area. Since MCSC rescue is a web app it is available on all mobile devices and web browsers.
On hand for Tuesday’s announcement was Judy Peterson whose daughter, Lindsey Nicholls, disappeared in 1993. She was last seen on a road outside Comox, B.C.
“I truly believe if this had existed when Lindsey went missing that we would have been able to find her or at least find out what happened to her," said Peterson. “By the time they did a neighbourhood search it was 10 days, two weeks later people don’t remember what they did or who they saw. If it came out within an hour people might say ‘oh I saw a kid on the highway and a truck stopping.’”
Nicholls was believed to be hitchhiking. The police investigation into her disappearance now reads ‘probable foul play’.
In 2018, police responded to 42,233 reports of missing children across Canada but less than one per cent of those are made public through AMBER Alerts. MSCS Rescu hopes to bridge that gap with its voluntary public alerts.
“While police remain on the front line in the searches for missing children, having responded to 42,233 reports across Canada in 2018, members of the public increasingly play an important role in helping bring children to safety.” said Amanda Pick, Missing Children Society of Canada CEO . "With the MCSC rescu web app, we're able to share information with the police and the public through easy-to-understand dynamic maps, and push alerts to people in specific locations, even down to a street. This allows us to find children faster, but we need every single Canadian to help.”
Calgary Police Service and Tsuut'ina Nation Police Service were the first in Alberta to adopt the web app in their missing children investigations.
Tuesday the CPS will install the app on all of the over 3000 mobile phones used by its officers and civilian members and is encouraging all Calgarians to sign up.
“So we will have an extra fleet of 3000 eyes and ears,” said Calgary Police superintendent Cliff O’Brien. “Wouldn’t that be incredible 1.2 or 1.3 million sets of eyes and ears looking for those missing children so I think it's absolutely crucial our community is involved.”
The app was developed for the (MCSC), by Toronto-based Esri Canada, a geographic information system (GIS) provider. It can be accessed HERE.