Crime Solvers Tap Into Texting
Police in Boston announced on June 15 a new text-messaging system for anonymous tips, in order to increase the public’s chances of communicating with police.
The initiative, which is being promoted as the initial one in the country to combine text messaging with an anonymous tip line, is meant to make use of texting’s privacy and its popularity among numerous youths, who may be less likely to call the police.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis noted that Los Angeles and New York have started testing text messaging to emergency dispatchers, but stressed that no other department has introduced a comprehensive plan to produce crime tips via anonymous text messaging.
Members of numerous Boston radio stations convened with police authorities to talk over contributing air time for radio commercials manufactured by Boston advertising agency Hill Holliday touting the plan.
In addition, the MBTA has contributed advertising space in four or five stations and around 250 buses, while area businesses have contributed multiple ad spaces on streets and inside bus shelters.
The program depends greatly on technology from VeriSign.
To text authorities, an individual can dial CRIME (27463) on his or her cell phone keypad and text the word “tip.” The tipster gets an instant return message telling him that the tip is anonymous and recommending that he or she contact 911 if an emergency has occurred.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Boston Globe (06/15/07); Smalley, Suzanne.