Updated program lets tipsters help cops solve crimes via e-mail, text message

Want to help police stop crime? Get tech savvy.

A new program offered by Crime Stoppers of Mesa County gives tipsters two more tools to report tips, by using e-mail and text messaging.

Adding the options should double or triple the number of tips Crime Stoppers receives over its call-in telephone number, organizers said.

Laura Bloom, an eighth-grader at East Middle School, said most students choose to communicate by texting and e-mails, so younger folks may now be more apt to contribute to Crime Stoppers.

“I really don’t know too many kids who talk much on their cell phones,” said Bloom, who estimates she sends about 80 text messages to friends each week. “I think kids are more observant than adults. They could use this. It would be so much easier than talking on the phone.”

Crime Stoppers organizer Brian Langfitt said information sent via e-mail or text under the program called TipSoft is kept confidential because it is rerouted through a third party. However, the information is relayed to local police in real time, so police officers can ask the tipster follow-up questions. On the call-in phone line, officers wait for the caller to call back to gather new information.

Also, questions on the Crime Stoppers Web site are geared toward students, which should help officers get a handle on crime at schools.

“We want things to be reported,” Langfitt said. “We think we’ll get a larger volume of tips from this.”

Crime Stoppers has received 346 calls this year and has awarded tipsters $3,200. Sixteen arrests have been made from tips and police have returned property valued at $27,000.


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