KSP develops program for texting crime tips
Oct 04, 2012 (Williamson Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky State Police is initiating a new proactive program where citizens are now able to text confidential tips from their cell phone. The program entitled "Text a Tip," is designed to report criminal activity, assist with neighborhood watch and serve as an additional resource for schools and college campuses.
"Text a Tip" is completely confidential and easy to use. Anyone with texting capabilities from a personal electronic device can simply text 67283 in the address field, then type KSPTIP in the message field, and must leave a space and then enter information about a crime. If your tip went through successfully, you will receive an instant confirmation text on your phone.
Web-based and phone tip lines have been around a while, but have the disadvantage of a perpetrator overhearing the person on the phone or they required Internet access.
KSP Spokesperson, Sgt. Rick Saint-Blancard says "Text a Tip" is gaining ground because text messaging does not require verbal communication or Internet access.
"Everywhere you go, someone has a cell phone with them," says Saint-Blancard. "Whether a person is home or at a large venue like a sporting event or concert, they can text a tip to us without bringing attention to themselves."
Saint-Blancard says people who live in high-crime neighborhoods are often afraid that if they are seen talking to police, they could be subject to retaliation from drug dealers or other criminals.
"With those fears in mind, when they have this new option of texting us -- knowing no one will know who they are -- they are more willing to provide specific details and names about the activity," he adds. "Text a Tip" messages are sent to a separate, third-party server, where identifying information is stripped out and they are assigned an encrypted alias before being sent to police.
Text-a-tip programs are being promoted in schools across the country to report weapon threats and reduce bullying.
"No technology is more powerful than the eyes and ears of the public," adds Saint-Blancard. "The key is enlisting people on their own terms by providing a discrete, immediate and confidential reporting source."
KSP reminds citizens to keep safety in mind when texting tips.
"If a tipster is driving when they witness suspicious activity, we ask them to safely pull to the side of the road and place their vehicle in park before attempting to text in a tip," says Saint-Blancard.
The "Text a Tip" program is operational 24 Hours a Day and 7 Days a Week and is received and monitored by the KSP Communications Center. KSP openly solicits information from citizens on any type of crime occurring but encourages citizens to call "911" if the crime is in-progress or there is an emergency. Detailed instructions of the program can be found on the KSP website.
For more information about the "Text a Tip" program please contact the KSP Public Affairs Branch at (502) 782-1780.
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