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CrimeStoppers launches texting option for tips

Friday, June 12, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 5:16 p.m. CDT, Thursday, August 13, 2009

COLUMBIA — Columbia CrimeStoppers introduced "text tipping" this week as the newest way to help police solve crimes in the community.

Bill Costello, CrimeStoppers board secretary, said he hoped the new text messaging option would engage more members of the community in helping police solve crimes.

“We live in a mobile society, and people use cell phones to text more than they make phone calls," Costello said. "This is a great way to make it easy for people to send information.”

He also said that text tipping is aimed at involving youth in community safety.

“We know this type of technology appeals to a younger audience, and so we hope this will encourage them to be more active in helping solve crimes,” Costello said.

Costello said the texting option will not reveal the identity of the tipster to the police.

“Anonymity is guaranteed for all individuals submitting tips through text, just like when they call the tip hot line or leave a tip on the Web site,” Costello said.

Columbia Police Capt. Brad Nelson also emphasized "that anonymity is guaranteed."

"The tips come in on an encrypted number which I receive,” Nelson said.

CrimeStoppers was established 26 years ago and has had great success, Costello said.

“We have been effective in solving some of the most high-profiles crimes in the community,” Costello said.

“Since 1981, the tips from CrimeStoppers have led to over 1,200 arrests,” Nelson said. “Just last year alone, 99 people were arrested as a result of Crime Stoppers, which is a record for us.”

CrimeStoppers in Columbia can also be reached through its hot line at 875-8477 or the “Submit Tip” section on its Web site at 875tips.com.


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