Police using text messages to alert you about crime

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Local police are now using text messages to alert you about crime in your neighborhood.

Hopewell Police use a program called Nixle, where you can sign up for crime alerts and other text messages if you live or work in the city. There are other new programs soon to be launched in other cities across the Central Virginia area.

Word is spreading around Hopewell about Nixle. A crime fighting tool, alerting you about crime in your neighborhood right on your cell phone, when you're miles away from home.

People are jumping on the band wagon. Take Danny Goertz, owner of Joker Skateboards in Hopewell, for example.

He had no idea what Nixle was until this evening.

"Knowing what's going on around you is a huge benefit in your area," he said.

That's exactly the message Donita Williams with the Hopewell Police Department hopes will get across to many.

"When citizens are away and concerned about possible break-ins or anything in the neighborhood, the instant alerts will give them anything major going on," Williams said.

Those alerts come by text or email, right to your phone or computer. You can even get pictures of criminals, too.

Here's how it works. Log onto nixle.com. Then, you need to add in your home address and information and then you're linked up to the system.

It took Daniel less than five minutes to sign up.

Several other business owners in Hopewell say they too will be signing up for Nixle as soon as they can to let everyone know when there is crime near their store.

In Petersburg -- a new service will soon hit the information highway. It's called Police To Citizens-- allowing you to put in your address -- and see crime near your home.

Other police departments like Hanover, Richmond, Louisa and Henrico -- use Facebook to alert you of crime.

Police say this new crime fighting technology is even leading to more tips from people about crooks, and those tips are coming in much quicker than before.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.