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Roanoke police launch new anonymous tip texting service

August 18, 2015 | Virginia News

News Image The Roanoke Police Department has a new texting program that allows residents to text crime tips anonymously.

Lt. Jeffrey Newman said the program is part of ongoing efforts to improve communication between officers and residents. Starting now, people can send tips anonymously by texting 274637 (Crimes) and entering RoanokePD before the message. The tips go directly to a supervising officer, who can then text the sender back with any questions.

“Some residents want to help the police, but there’s some hesitancy to being a witness,” Newman said. “This anonymous tip program is set up so we can communicate anonymously back and forth.”

The texting program uses TipSoft SMS to route the texts to Roanoke police. Though TipSoft is used by hundreds of agencies across the country, Roanoke police are the first in the area to use it, Newman said.

Newman said the department first adopted the texting program after receiving $75,000 from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services in 2014. The grant was designated to boost patrol numbers and programs for the department’s Drug Market Initiative, which aims to reduce recidivism among non-violent offenders and lower overall crime near Hurt and Melrose parks.

Roanoke police used about $2,800 of the grant to launch the texting program, Newman said.

(Post adapted from article published in Roanoke Times —