Tipsters can earn up to $1,000
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 21, 2016) — The Lexington Police Department today announced the availability of Text-a-Tip, a tool for citizens to anonymously submit crime-related information. Anyone with information about a suspect or an incident can text LEXPD in the body of the message followed by the tip and send it to CRIMES (274637).
Chief Mark Barnard said the Text-a-Tip service is a proactive way for citizens to help prevent and solve crimes. Members of the group SWAG—Sisters and Supporters Working Against Gun Violence—advocated for the program.
“Information from the community is critical to our investigations, and anonymous tips are one way of connecting the dots in a case. We know people want to come forward but may be nervous or afraid to,” Chief Barnard said. “Text-a-Tip allows people who may be hesitant in contacting police directly to participate in fighting crime in our city. Tips can help ultimately bring suspects to justice and can provide some closure to victims’ families.”
Citizens are encouraged to report information about any illegal activity, such as unsolved cases, theft, vandalism, the sale and distribution of drugs, or information about crimes that are being planned in the community or in schools. Text-a-Tip can also accept video or picture files with the message.
The Text-a-Tip service works the same way as the anonymous tip phone line (859-253-2020) and website managed by the non-profit Bluegrass Crime Stoppers, Inc. Tipsters who text information that leads to an arrest could potentially receive a reward up to $1,000.
“We believe the Text-a-Tip option will greatly enhance our traditional anonymous tip tools,” said Mark Thomas, a Lexington Police detective and coordinator for Bluegrass Crime Stoppers. “Since Blue Grass Crime Stoppers was founded in 1980’s, anonymous tips have led to nearly 2,700 arrests and more than 8,200 cases cleared.”
Lexington’s Text-a-Tip service and Bluegrass Crime Stoppers are both powered by TipSoft, a third-party company that has worked successfully with more than 900 law enforcement organizations across the country.
When a person submits a tip, they are sent a random system-generated code or “alias.” The alias allows the tipster to carry on an anonymous two-way conversation with investigators without speaking directly to an officer. Neither the police department nor Bluegrass Crime Stoppers can find out the identity of the tipster unless the person chooses to reveal it.
The Text-a-Tip service is free and requires no purchase or download to participate, however standard messaging rates and other fees may apply. In an active crime or emergency situation, citizens should call 9-1-1.