March 11th, 2009 13:21 EST
Police Use Texting To Fight Crime
"The Franklin Police Department introduced an innovative new crime-fighting tool Monday at Franklin High School.
The department is the first law enforcement agency in the state to be able to handle anonymous text messaging tips from the public. Anyone in the community will be able to text tips.
A third-party company called Citizen Observer removes the phone number, replaces it with an ID number and sends it on to police, making it anonymous." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29598386/
It`s incumbent on the police to use the latest technologies to fight crime, but this innovation makes me uneasy. Informants (snitches) are crucial in solving many crimes, but this new "snitch via text" plan makes it too easy for pranksters and snitches.
Most police departments have phone numbers where you can leave anonymous tips, but there`s a big difference between an anonymous phone call and an anonymous text message. A snitch who uses a phone line at least has enough guts to leave his voice on a permanent record with the police. But sending a tip via a tech message is too freaking wimpy.
The Franklin, Tennessee police department is going to be flooded with false tips, every geek who is turned down by a cheerleader is going to fire a text message to the police accusing her of selling drugs.
Before the advent of the Internet columnists who wrote essays on controversial subjects received a handful of irate letters, but now if you write an article on a hot issue you will be overwhelmed with nasty email. It`s just too easy for cowards to send profane emails, and it`s just too easy for pranksters to send false tips to the police via text.
It will be impossible for the police to learn the identity of a tipster who provides false information. A mean and hateful person can get revenge on his enemies by lying to the police about them, and he won`t have to worry about any repercussions.
"The program was rolled out Monday to departments across the country, with the Franklin Police Department being the first in Tennessee to have these capabilities. It will go online Wednesday at 10 a.m." MSNBC.Com
The Franklin police department should be ready to hire a couple of employees to process the hundreds of false tips they will receive.
To send Franklin police a crime tip, text 615-FPD to TIP-411, which is 847-411.