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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

TEXT-A-TIP

  • Alderman Danny Solis (25th Ward) called on Friday for an ordinance that would enlist Internet technology to protect the anonymity of witnesses who report crimes to the police.
  • As Mr. Solis stood in a group of about 30 residents and officials who had gathered in Pilsen — less than a week after one man was killed and another was badly injured in a shooting in the neighborhood — he urged those in the crowd to “break the code of silence,” and pick up the phone when a crime had been committed.
  • Cecily Arroyo, one of the event’s organizers, said, “The silence is deafening, and we must come together as a community.”
  • The group included a small girl who held a sign that read, “I want to grow up peacefully in Pilsen.”
  • The event was held after the City Council voted to impose new restrictions on gun owners in response to Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that effectively ended the city’s ban on handguns.
  • After his news conference, Mr. Solis said his plan would involve third parties like Google, Bing or Yahoo as filters for information sent by residents, via text or photo messaging, who might not otherwise trust the police to protect their identities.
  • Chicago has used technology before for anonymous tips. Text-a-Tip, developed by Crime Stoppers and implemented in 2008, is a text message tip line for residents who might otherwise be afraid to come forward.
  • Compared with Boston, where Text-a-Tip made its debut in 2007, Chicago got off to a slow start. While Boston’s crime rate is significantly lower than Chicago’s, its texting hot line received 694 messages in its first year alone, while Chicago’s received only 36 in its first six months. Experts attribute the disparity to a forceful marketing push by Crime Stoppers in Boston.
  • “I want to use the technology of the day to provide extra eyes and ears for the community,” Mr. Solis said.
  • He also proposed that the companies, in exchange for the promotional benefit the service would bring, should contribute to a fund that would reward people who provided information that helped solve a crime.
  • Robert Rocha, 31, a “violence interrupter” with Ceasefire Chicago, said he was skeptical that the service would get to the root of the problem. Families are often in denial about their children’s possible involvement with gangs, Mr. Rocha said.
  • “It goes way back in history,” he said. “A lot of it is Hispanic culture — the not talking.”
  • People also fear being deemed a “rata,” or rat, he said.
  • “To break the code of silence, we must educate the community about laws and gangs,” Mr. Rocha said. “It’s through this that we can take the streets back.”
Will this help? NBD TTLY FWM TUI TMOT TBD SFAIK PROLLY NW

4 comments:

  1. I've never heard of texting crime tips... and I work for the city.

    I guess they had one killer of a marketing campaign that I missed?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah. The city that works. HA!

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  3. fer sho , wut a gr8 idea lol. Seriously though, where do these text tips go, and how often are they retrieved?

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  4. The tips go to the fusion center. How they are handled after that I do not know.

    ReplyDelete

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