September 30, 2008

Crime Stoppers have a new tool: Text messaging

The text-messaging generation has just become a new crime-fighting tool.

The Racine Police Department announced a new partnership with Crime Stoppers of Racine County, utilizing text messaging to report crimes. People who used to call law enforcement agencies with crime tips can now text them -- using a high tech server system based in Texas that serves police agencies throughout the U.S.

It's called Tipsoft, and Racine Police say it features built in firewall systems to ensure that the sender of a text tip will remain anonymous.,

Four billboards around the city will announce the program this week. People who want to provide tips just need to text their message to the Tipsoft address -- CRIMES, or 274637 -- and reference the Racine County Tipsoft ID number: TIP 417. The information goes to a clearinghouse in Texas before being forwarded to the Racine Police Department. Tips are then distributed to appropriate law enforcement agencies in Racine County.

Police in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago are already using the new technology. Racine County law enforcement agencies hope members of the community will use the system to provide tips about crimes here, including several unsolved Racine homicides and the hit and run death of bicyclist Patricia Blundon in Caledonia.

Crime Stoppers tips can still be phoned in by calling 262-636-9330, or emailed to the Crime Stoppers web page.

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