TEXT-A-TIP tested for privacy of information

TEXT-A-TIP tested for privacy of information

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Wilmington Police Department is reminding the community the text-a-tip system is completely anonymous. Out of hundreds of bystanders near two deadly shootings in the City of Wilmington, investigators only received a few tips and no leads.

"It's underutilized right now. We could get a lot more, a lot better information," said WPD PIO assistant Cathryn Lindsay.

According to police, the fear from the community is that the system is not anonymous and the tipster could face retaliation; however, the text-a-tip system goes through a third party system in Canada where the senders information is completely removed. Instead, the sender is assigned a four digit code, hiding their identity.

The WPD only sees a computer screen with the four digit code, the time the text was sent, and the message.

"Literally it says tipster. There's no phone number, no name, no identifying information, we just get the message," Lindsey explained.

Police can communicate back and forth with the sender but still, the sender's identification is anonymous.

Senders can also visit the text-a-tip website and upload photos or Facebook profiles for investigators as well.

How to Text-a-Tip:

  1. Text TIP708 and your message to CRIMES (274637). Your message must begin with TIP708.
  2. When your message is received at CRIMES, your name and cell phone number are stripped from the message before it is forwarded to the Police Department.
  3. You receive an immediate text reply that will include a confidential I.D. number.
  4. If you use Text-a-Tip again, you may include your confidential I.D. number, but it is your choice. Text-a-Tip is totally anonymous.

For more information, go to www.tip708.com.

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