Text tips to cops

Text messaging is now more than just “LOLs” and dirty gossip; it can be used to report crimes. Text411 is a new service offered by UVM Police that allows students to send anonymous tips about crimes, according to the UVM website. “We need to hear from students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Chief of Police Lianne Tuomey said. “Texting tips is just another way to increase the talk of incidents in real time.” The great thing about texting is that it is a two-way communication, Tuomey said. “We can respond back, making it better than an e-mail because we can’t reply to anonymous e-mails,” she said. The police department has been able to receive text tips since December and plans to promote the service at the beginning of the next academic year, according to the Burlington Free Press. Some students said they expressed concerns over how seriously members of the UVM community would take reporting crimes via text. “I’d be worried that students might abuse this service to try to get others in trouble instead of helping them,” sophomore Honor Gibson said. Students said that they were unaware that this type of communication with police services is available. “I had no clue that you were able to text the police an anonymous tip,” first year Lindsey Kass said. “I guess some people will like the fact that they can text the police because they don’t like talking on the phone.” Tuomey encourages the UVM community to use any means of contacting them to report incidents: call, text or e-mail. “It’s really about opening up the lines of communication,” Tuomey said. “[Texting is] another way for us to get real-time information about crimes.” Students can text their tips to 847411 and should include the keyword “UVM” in the message.