Clay County residents can report crime via texting
SPENCER, Iowa (KTIV) - Although it's not encouraged, you may have done it at work, at school, or when you're trying to multi-task. Texting is a pretty popular way for people of all ages to communicate.
Now northwest Iowa law enforcers are encouraging you to text, to report a crime.
Every day billions of text messages are sent all over the world. They're used to communicate with other people without having to speak over the telephone.
"A lot of people are texting now," said Randy Krukow, Clay County Sheriff.
Now authorities at the Clay County Sheriff's Department along with the Spencer Police Department have joined forces to help solve crime with texting.
"We feel that this is going to be a positive," said Sheriff Krukow.
It's a program set up just like Crime Stoppers, but instead of phoning in a tip, you can now text in a tip.
"It can be anything from stolen property to controlled substance use, robberies, theft, assaults or just a general criminal investigation," Chief Mark Lawson.
And just like when you call in on their tip line, your identity remains anonymous, thanks to a company called, Tip Soft Text Tips, a third party in Canada scrambles the phone numbers before the text message is sent to the police chief and sheriff.
"The phone numbers that would come up on the cell phones or the Blackberry is encrypted or scrambled so we're not able to trace it back," said Chief Lawson.
Law enforcement can text back to the anonymous sender, but his or her identity will not be known.
"Anonymity is guaranteed at this point in time," said Chief Lawson.
But this texting program should not replace emergency calls, dialing 911 should always come first. If the new text a tip program can help solve crime here Clay County, officials say it was well worth the money invested.
The Crime Stoppers board paid for the first year of the program, which costs $1,500.
If it goes well, next year, the police department and sheriff's department will share the cost.
If you live in Clay County, Iowa and want to send a text tip, you can send the text to "crimes" or "274637". You'll also need to type "CSI21" at the beginning of the text so it'll register to go to Clay County.
There are a couple other counties and cities in Siouxland offering the program, but you'll need to use a different code in the text.