More than 50 law enforcement agencies in Utah have launched the TipSoft anonymous crime tipping tool to allow the public to send tips through their phone or computer.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Rep. Greg Hughes joined police chiefs and sheriffs at a public announcement to let Utah residents know how they can now use the TipSoft service to submit secure and anonymous tips to law enforcement through their Web browser, text message or smart phone.
"Law enforcement agencies have to keep pace with technology to effectively fight crime," says Shurtleff. "We have lots of agencies onboard but we need to get the word out so we can close cases and keep communities safe."
Through any mobile phone, TipSoft allows Utah residents to submit anonymous, encrypted tips by texting a message to "274637" (CRIMES). Tips should begin with an agency-specific keyword.
Utah residents can also submit online tips via the Web portal TipSubmit.com or by downloading the free TipSoft smartphone app for iPhone or Android platforms. The mobile app accepts video and photo tips and automatically routes the information to the nearest participating agency.
"Police departments need to adopt the same methods of communication as the general public. To be able to receive crime tips by text message is expected," says Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank. "Implementing this technology greatly increases the opportunity for citizens to participate with law enforcement in making their neighborhoods safer for everyone."
TipSoft is provided by Draper-based CrimeReports.com. It's now being used by more than 800 law enforcement and CrimeStoppers groups throughout the U.S.
"When it comes to crime prevention we want to encourage the mindset of, 'If you see something, say something,' as many crimes are prevented and solved by members of the public with their shared knowledge," says Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
Nationwide statistics provided by CrimeReports.com indicate:
- One in 14 tips results in an arrest.
- One in nine tips clears a case.
- Each arrest through TipSoft in 2010 costs $13.98.
- Each fugitive captured through TipSoft in 2010 costs $34.18.
- More than $1,500 in property and drugs were recovered for each dollar spent on TipSoft in 2010.
Funding for the program was made available through a direct appropriation from the Utah state legislature and allows law enforcement agencies to obtain and use the software at no direct cost for one year.
"The entire CrimeReports and TipSoft teams are thrilled to be making Utah a safer place to live. After all, this is our home," adds Greg Whisenant, chief executive of CrimeReports.com.