Text messages can be sent to Crime Stoppers 2012.10.31

Written by David Green.

Texting tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers of Lenawee County is a new community protection method, thanks to a recently added data encryption program.

The service, called TipSoft, allows citizens to send tips online, by iPhone or Android mobile apps or by sending a text message to “CRIMES” (274637) with the keyword “LENAWEE” from a mobile phone. Citizens can also continue to phone in tips to 517-266-6161 or 877-276-8477.

After texting the tip, the sender immediately receives a confirmation text with an identity number and other instructions.

“The widespread use of text messaging makes it easy for the public to help law enforcement agencies fight crime,” said Det. Gary Ward, who is the Lenawee County Crime Stoppers coordinator. “And with TipSoft, they can know that it’s safe for them to do the right thing without ever disclosing their identity.”

TipSoft, which is made by PublicEngines, is a service that encrypts text messages, assigns them a unique ID, and routes them through secure servers to protect any personal details of the information provider. That allows agencies and members of the public to have a two-way dialogue that is completely secure and anonymous.

Citizens are encouraged to use TipSoft to report information about any non-urgent illegal activity, such as unsolved cases, vandalism, theft, the sale and distribution of drugs or information about crimes that are being planned in the community or in schools. Emergencies should still be reported by calling 911.

Crime Stoppers of Lenawee is a program available to all Lenawee County police departments, fire departments and parole agents. Crime Stoppers is funded by donations and this program was paid for by a donation from a private Lenawee County group.

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