The newest tool in preventing or solving crime may literally be at your fingertips.
The Collin County Sheriff’s Office added its name to the number of agencies around DFW accepting anonymous text message tips.
“It’s not a new technology, but it’s an adaption of a current technology that could bring us some more information,” said Lt. John Norton.
Collin County is working with citizenobserver.com to accept both texts and email messages from the public.
People can text “CCSO” (for Collin County Sheriff’s Office) with their information to 847-411 (or TIP-411) or use an anonymous online form on the Sheriff’s Office website.
The site also accepts photos and multimedia messages and assigns the user an anonymous code.
That allows deputies to follow up and communicate with the sender without compromising the source’s privacy.
“One of the most important aspects of this is that you can do it anonymously,” said Norton. “There are a lot of circumstances where people have a lot of good information, but they don’t want to be public about it.”
Norton said the system is not a replacement for 911, nor do they want people to abuse the system. However, they have already received information and, to some in Collin County, the system makes sense.
“I think it’s genius,” said Deborah Ricci, of McKinney. “Why not tap into something that is already in place and have the strength in numbers?”
Norton said the sheriff’s office also plans to allow citizens to register for an alert system within the next two months that will operate much like a reverse 911 while allowing people to receive alerts and notifications straight to their phone or email account.