Crimestoppers Hope Texting Will Help Solve Crimes

(CINCINNATI) -- Cincinnati's newest crime fighting tool is aimed at attracting teenagers who now often use their cell phones, not to make calls, but to text messages. So Crimestoppers has a new text message phone number and local kids helped set up the whole thing.

It's a trend we've seen the last couple years more and more young people involved in all aspects of crime. The police department wanted to know what it could do to reach out and connect with these kids.

The answer they got was t-x-t.

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It may be the most famous phone number in the tri-state.

As soon as something bad happens.

"If you have any information.. Call crimestoppers at 352-3040"

Now that famous number has a cousin -  352-30-50 a number you can anonymously text crime tips to.

But before unveiling their latest crime fighting tool, crime stoppers had to go back to s-k-o-o-l.

Officers went to several schools and students gave them the same unexpected answer.

Dominique Bettis says, "I think this texting is a great avenue for us kids to get involved in crime stoppers."

Texting, something many students can do without even looking at the phone, was a way they felt comfortable communicating with police.

"I came out of those meetings believing this program would be very successful afterwords."

The resulting program, as this poster explains, is giving teens a voice without saying a word.

Every text message sent to crime stoppers comes to this phone only and investigators take the information from there.

"There's different situations," said Dominique, "where you can call, but then there's also situations where you can't call."

Sgt. Don Scalf, "and that helps us, because if I've got a teenager on the corner who sees something he knows is wrong, or somebody he knows is wrong, he can then with his hand in his pocket, tell me what I need to know to get officers out there to do their job."

His new number is open to anyone, though police think younger people will use it more.

In it's first day 352-30-50 got three text message tips.

FOX19: Chris Shaw