Police asking public to text crime tips

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Police, which participates in the CrimeStoppers program, is trying to solve crimes quicker than ever. The latest method involves you sending a text message through your phone to the police department. It's an easy way for you to help police get the criminals out of your backyard.

Just this week -- two people were shot in Hillside Court in Richmond's Southside. One was killed and now the family of Regina Doctor is left to mourn.

"We had a better relationship than anything," says Ruquan Doctor. "She was so outgoing. She loved me. She loved her family. She loved her friends. She didn't do nothing to nobody."

The grief can be seen in Regina's 13-year-old son's eyes. It's crimes like this Richmond Police are hoping you'll help them solve through a new initiative called "i-Tip". "You can still observe while texting. So, we thought it'd be another avenue to reach a different demographic," says detective John Flores.

Since this all started a few months ago, police have received nearly 200 text tips, helping them to solve drug cases, along with getting wanted people off the streets and catching suspects wanted in robberies.

It's simple to do. All you have to do is text your crime tip to 274637. It's anonymous. But, some are questioning how that is possible.

"There is a server in Canada. It strips your number out. That way we don't have your cell phone number," Flores said.

A similar crime solving tip is used by Crimesolvers in Chesterfield and Colonial Heights. The key now, to get the word out about this new crime solving option.

"The more people that use it, the more people will become comfortable with it. And, we expect larger feedback in the future," adds Flores.

That's happening now and helping victims get some justice, faster than before.

Police in Richmond say they are going to handing out flyers with information on how to iTip at crime scenes in the coming weeks and months.

The Richmond Police Department also said it expects the iTip program tot be expanding to both Virginia Commonwealth University and The University of Richmond soon.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.