PRINCE GEORGE, VA (WWBT) - There's a new way for residents to report criminal activity in Hopewell and Prince George County -- and police say it's simple and effective.
Police departments in both localities are tapping into cell phone technology to help catch criminals. They've jointly launched "Text-A-Tip."
"It allows citizens the availability to text a tip anonymously in reference to any criminal activity or a wanted subject," said Prince George County Detective, Nick Wilder.
The program is aimed at a specific group of possible tipsters.
"We're trying to capture a younger audience -- the generation that's texting -- mainly young adults and adolescents," said Wilder.
To text-a-tip is quite simple. Just type the numbers 2-7-4-6-3-7 or crimes. In your message box type the keyword "igoctcha" followed by your tip. Then, send hit the send button. Within seconds, you'll receive an alias identification number.
"That tip is sent to Canada to a server where you're cell phone information is stripped from the tip message -- then it's routed back to our emergency communications center," said Wilder.
Police can reply to the text in an effort to obtain additional information.
"At anytime when somebody submits a text, they also have a feature on the phone where you can text stop to the system to prevent any replies from the police back to that phone. We never know who the person is - we'll never know where the information came from," said Wilder.
And just like Crime Solvers, tipsters can receive up to a thousand dollars if their text-in tip leads to an arrest.
There are more than 20 agencies in Virginia using the text-a-tip program including Chesterfield and Richmond police departments.