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Thread: Police invite tips from anonymous text messages - MWAG! The Washington Times

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    http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/j...ages/#comments

    Police in the 1970s urged citizens to "drop a dime" in a pay phone to report crimes anonymously. Now in an increasing number of cities, tipsters are being invited to use their thumbs — to identify criminals using text messages. Police hope the idea helps recruit teens and 20-somethings who wouldn't normally dial a Crime Stoppers hot line to share information with authorities.

    "If somebody hears Johnny is going to bring a gun to school, hopefully they'll text that in," said Sgt. Brian Bernardi of the Louisville, Ky., Metro Police Department, which rolled out its text-message tip line in June.

    Police in Louisville, Ky., opened a text-message tip line in June. Departments across the country are embracing the technology. "It's obvious that the future of communication is texting," said Officer Michael Charbonnier of Boston's Crime Stoppers unit. Departments in Boston and Cincinnati started accepting anonymous text tips about a year ago. Since then, more than 100 communities have taken similar steps or plan to do so. The Internet-based systems route messages through a server that encrypts cell-phone numbers before they get to police, making tips virtually impossible to track.

    In Louisville earlier this week, Sgt. Bernardi's computer displayed a text message from a person identified only as "Tip563." It read: "someone has vandalized the school van at valor school on bardstown rd in fern creek." The note also reported illegal dumping in a trash container and in the woods.

    "It's obvious that the future of communication is texting," said Officer Michael Charbonnier, commander of the Boston Police Department's Crime Stoppers unit. "You look at these kids today, and that's all they're doing. You see five kids standing on the corner, and they're texting instead of having a conversation with each other."

    When Boston adopted the system last year, the first text tip yielded an arrest in a New Hampshire slaying. In the 12 months that ended June 15, Boston police logged 678 text tips, nearly matching the 727 phone tips during the same period.

    Earlier this year, a text tip led to the arrest of a notorious suspect in a drug case.
    "We've gotten some great drug information, specific times, dates, names of suspects, locations, pickup times, license plate numbers," Officer Charbonnier said. In another instance, a hearing-impaired man who could not call 911 used a text message to report a domestic violence incident.

    Since the beginning of the year, cities such as Tampa, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Detroit have started their own text-based tip systems, according to Texas-based Anderson Software, a leading providers of the technology. Many cities are adding the text messages to a system that already accepted anonymous tips through a Web site.

    Lisa Haber, a sheriff's detective who heads the Tampa-area Crime Stoppers unit, recently spent an hour exchanging 21 text messages with a tipster about a possible stolen car. It didn't yield an arrest, but Detective Haber said it allowed her to glimpse the potential of being able to communicate in real time with texters. A marketing blitz will help get the word out when students return to school later this summer.

    "It's got a lot of potential," said Cincinnati police Lt. David Fink, whose agency has collected about five text tips a month since adopting the system in May 2007. "Just like when we started Crime Stoppers 27 years ago, it took some time for it to catch on."

    Comments (1 of 1) By: DougHuffman
    School's out forever! Imagine, 'texting' anonymous MWAG. "But honest, I saw a man with an evil black rifle. He stared at me and pointed it at me. I'm scared!"

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    OMG MY BFF JILL SAW A MWAG AT SK8 PARK!

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Link: http://www.cellular-news.com/story/30875.php?source=rss
    Anonymous SMS Aids Crime Fighting

    Mobile phone users in the USA and Canada can now send anonymous tips to their police via SMS - following the launch of a service from Anderson Software and mBlox. Using TipSoft SMS, tips may be anonymously received and securely replied to with complete confidence. Anderson Software has built this service specifically to allow text messaging informants to remain anonymous by encrypting the text messages and routing them through several secure servers, protecting the personal details of the informant.

    "I have been a law enforcement officer for over 30 years and this is by far the most innovative, progressive tool I have ever seen in my career," said Myrle Carner, Director of Law Enforcement Services, Seattle Police Department. "There is no doubt that this program will dramatically increase our crime solving capabilities!"

    TipSoft SMS also allows police to respond by text message to the originating cell phone without ever knowing the identity of the individual who left the tip. The user's information is always given an alias and a unique ID before being sent. This secure application allows the tipster and the investigator to have two-way dialog while always keeping the user's identity completely anonymous.

    "Due to the massive popularity of text messaging, we felt it was necessary to develop a secure and anonymous means of easy communication between mobile phone users and law enforcement," said Kevin Anderson, CEO of Anderson Software. "With TipSoft SMS, everyday citizens will have the opportunity to offer an anonymous tip when they are mobile to a variety of law enforcement agencies via a simple text message." Anderson encourages tipsters to report information about any non-urgent illegal activity, such as unsolved cases, vandalism, theft and the sale and distribution of drugs.

    TipSoft is currently launching in 32 cities in the United States and will soon be available throughout the UK. Sixteen cities in Canada have already launched the program.

    Posted to the site on 30th April 2008

    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    Thankfully, anonymous tips are not even grounds for a Terry stop where the tip sets forth an allegation of criminal gun carry. Florida v. J.L.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Orygunner wrote:
    OMG MY BFF JILL SAW A MWAG AT SK8 PARK!
    LMAO

    I hate text messaging personally. I find that I can make a phone call more quickly, and with my bluetooth earpiece and voice dial, it doesn't distract me from other things such as situational awareness or driving while doing so. But I know a lot of people like it so I think the concept is a general win for police tips.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    I was going to mention F v JL like Mike. So, uh, if they were to catch a guy carrying a gun with this, wouldn't the evidence be thrown out as fruit of an unlawful search?

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    So criminals can now text the police to tell them there's a kidnapping/hostage crisis in some tenement, and then go rob a bank when the cops respond to the wrong place? Neat.

    -ljp

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    Mike wrote:
    Thankfully, anonymous tips are not even grounds for a Terry stop where the tip sets forth an allegation of criminal gun carry. Florida v. J.L.
    Not contradicting, just adding.

    There are a number of court opinions addressing the reliability of a tip.

    Be a little careful with the Florida vs JL cite in arguments and conversation. That case dealt with a tip of a concealed handgun. And the subsequent search. The case hinged on the legality of the search, initiated on an anonymous tip,that discovered the gun.

    If you are OC'ing, the gun is in view, thus no search would be necessary.

    This would not change theconcept that there would be no grounds for a stop if the OC was legal.Tip or no tip. This is the heart of our idea that dispatchers shouldn't be sending police to check an OC'er. Its basically a tip that something legal is occuring.

    Now that I think about it... Goddamit, the police should be happy to get a tip that something legal is occuring.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    I'm aware that JL doesn't apply to OC, but carrying at all is illegal in DC so it does apply there. I doubt someone is going to OC there!

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