Police ask residents to 'Text a Tip' to fight crime

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

The Kentucky State Police is initiating a new proactive program where residents are now able to text confidential tips from their cell phone. 

The program, “Text a Tip,” is designed to report criminal activity, assist with neighborhood watch and serve as an additional resource for schools and college campuses.

“Text a Tip” is completely confidential and easy to use. 

Anyone with texting capabilities from personal electronic devices can simply text 67283 in the address field, then type KSPTIP in the message field, leave a space and then enter information about a crime.

If the tip is sent successfully, the sender will receive an instant confirmation text.

Web-based and phone tip lines have been around a while, but have the disadvantage of a perpetrator overhearing the person on the phone or they required Internet access.

KSP Sgt. Rick Saint-Blancard says “Text a Tip” is gaining ground because text messaging does not require verbal communication or Internet access. 

“Everywhere you go, someone has a cell phone with them,” he said. “Whether a person is at home or a large venue, like a sporting event or concert, they can text a tip to us without bringing attention to themselves.”

Saint-Blancard says people who live in high-crime neighborhoods are often afraid that if they are seen talking to police, they could be subject to retaliation from drug dealers or other criminals.

"So when they have this option of texting us — knowing no one will know who they are — they are more willing to provide specific details and names about the activity,” he adds.  “Text a Tip” messages are sent to a separate, third-party server, where identifying information is stripped out and they are assigned an encrypted alias before being sent to police.

Text-a-tip programs are being promoted in schools across the country to report weapon threats and reduce bullying.

“No technology is more powerful then the eyes and ears of the public,” adds Saint-Blancard.  “The key is enlisting people on their own terms by providing a discrete, immediate and confidential reporting source.”

KSP reminds residents to keep safety in mind when texting tips.

“If a tipster is driving when they witness suspicious activity, we ask them to safely pull to the side of the road and place their vehicle in park before attempting to text in a tip,” says Saint-Blancard.

The “Text a Tip” program is operational 24/7 and monitored by the KSP Communications Center.  KSP openly solicits information from residents on any type of crime occurring but encourages residents to call 911 if the crime is in-progress or there is an emergency.