Text messaging takes on key role in the battle against crime

Text messaging is a quick, easy and convenient way to communicate with one another at any given time.

And although many use text messaging for fun, there may soon be an option for using the service in emergency situations.

Crime Stoppers is currently in the process of testing a program that would enable people to send a text message to report crimes.

According to the program coordinator of Crime Stoppers, anyone will be able to send a text message directly to Crime Stoppers anonymously and securely.

“Basically, any identifiers will be removed and only the text portion of the message will be received at the other end,” Larry Straver said.

The idea for the program came from Kevin Anderson. He is the creator of the software that most of the Crime Stoppers programs use for their tips. He is also the owner of Anderson Software based out of Texas.

“We can say we expect that it should be active within the next couple of months” We are hoping it will be in March, but it’s not concrete,” Straver said.

If the program is offered, Crime Stoppers would receive the tip immediately by a live person, 24 hours a day.

An example; you’re in a club with a group of friends and a fight breaks out. The police raid the club and everyone flees. You and your friends see the suspects leaving in a car.

This is when you would pull out your cellphone and send a quick message to Crime Stoppers describing the suspects and the vehicle including the license plate it you were fortunate to have seen it.

“The information is forwarded to local police agency to look out for vehicle. If the police can’t locate the vehicle immediately, they still have something to work with.

The person who sent the message is never identified and never has to appear in court,” Straver said.

To date, it is not known if phone companies will allow customers to send a free message to Crime Stoppers or if there will be a charge to send the message. Also, the program is expected to launch within the next few months.

This new method of reporting crime may help many feel at ease who otherwise be reluctant to do so by making a call at the place and time of the incident. After all, a text message can be more discreet than talking openly on the telephone.

“Text messaging is a preferred method of communication amongst youth and it would be foolish for Crime Stoppers not to offer that portion of the population an avenue to relay information about crime,” Straver said.

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Posted: Feb 26 2008 12:00 pm
Filed under: News