Text tips begin

Published 10:31 pm Friday, February 14, 2014

Crime Line tipsters now have another way to submit information anonymously to the Suffolk Police Department.

The introduction of the TipSoft service means tipsters can submit information by text or picture message, through the web or with the TipSubmit mobile app.

Suffolk Crime Line President Wanda McKenzie said she believes the new service will increase the number of tips from younger people.

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“The new generation will text before they pick up a phone and call,” McKenzie said. “Especially students in school, they’re more likely to text than they are to pick up the phone, and they know what’s going on in the community.”

McKenzie said Thursday the department had already received its first tip through the program without even publicizing it. The Crime Line’s phone number, 1-888-LOCK-U-UP, has the information on how to submit a tip.

Suffolk Police Department Detective Brandon Upton, the Crime Line coordinator for the city, said the program is a good move for the department.

“I think it’s going to be a pretty good step forward with the police department and public relations with the citizens,” he said.

Upton said tips are routed through the TipSoft program so that nobody with the police department can see the phone number it’s coming from, but detective still can have a two-way conversation with the tipster to get more information.

“It will be just as anonymous as it always has been, but it’s a lot more efficient than what Crime Line has been in the recent past,” he said.

Upton also said the service can be used to submit tips inconspicuously when the tipster does not want to be seen talking on the telephone, allowing them to alert police of situations immediately. Folks should still dial 911 for crimes in progress and other emergency situations, though.

“The Suffolk Police Department is excited about the addition of text tipping to our investigative tools,” Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said in a press release. “In today’s world, every one operates via cell phones. The text tipping system will be easier and quicker while still providing a level of confidentiality for the tipster. We look forward to using this system.”

Tips can be submitted at www.tipsubmit.com or by sending a text to CRIMES (274637) with keyword SPDVATIP and the tip information.