Verify: Do Silver Alerts work?

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We see them all the time. Electronic road signs, on the highway, about a missing senior citizen, somewhere in Texas.  

Viewer Renee Rubin has some questions about Silver Alerts for missing seniors.

"Would love to verify if these people are ever found, and if there's a way to let people know to stop looking,” Ruben asked in a video submission.

Let's start with a little background.

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By law, in Texas, there are three kinds of alerts:  Amber, for missing kids. Blue for suspects wanted in a cop shooting. In this story, we'll focus just on Silver Alerts for missing seniors.

Police departments can request to activate TXDOT's highway signs if a person is over 65, poses a safety threat because of a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s, and it’s believed the left by car.

The Texas Department of Public Safety does not publish success rates.  But I asked for the data and here’s what the state provided.

Since 2007, when the alerts started, there have been 789 activations -- 740 times, the person was found during the alert. That's a 94% success rate.

However, the State does not track how frequently the same person goes missing. When Robert Milburn - from Rosenberg -- recently disappeared, a spokesperson for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department said that was Milburn’s third Silver Alert.

When an alert is cancelled, a TxDOT spokesperson says they are generally not asked to announce that on the electronic boards. So most people never know the search is over or how it ended.

Thirty-five states have a Silver Alert, or something like it. But according to the American Silver Alert Coalition, no one publishes national success rates.

Got something you want Verified. Send me an email at david@verifytv.com.