March 19, 2009 Elise Schaffer, PIO
A new crime-fighting tool is now at the fingertips of area residents. They can now use their cell phones to text tips to Madison Area Crime Stoppers.
“The popularity of text messaging gives us a great opportunity to further partner with citizens, as we all work together to make our community safe,” said Chief Noble Wray, Madison Police Department (MPD)
The MPD, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, and UW Police Department have joined forces to fund the project. It will utilize TipSoft SMS technology. TipSoft SMS is a product Texas based Anderson Software. SMS stands for Short Message Service – often called text messaging. TipSoft SMS technology is being utilized by law enforcement agencies around the country.
“Tips from citizens are crucial in solving many crimes. Giving people the ability to send us those tips via text messaging will be a valuable tool for law enforcement throughout Dane County,” said Sheriff David Mahoney.
Madison Area Crime Stoppers Coordinator Paul Jacobson, a Madison Police Officer, says the new tool should be easy to use, particularly for those who have text message experience. He says citizens send tips by first texting the keyword “DANE”. Next they put in a message of up to 160 characters.
Tips are sent to “CRIMES” (274637). In seconds, a confirmation reply is sent back. It will include an alias for the tipster, and this alias is how the tipster will be known to law enforcement – so correspondence can be completely anonymous.
Text tips and Web Tips can be sent in both English and Spanish.
Citizens will also continue to have the ability to pass information to Madison Area Crime Stoppers through phone calls and web tips.