Aimed at high school students as a way to keep campuses safe, the Web site www.alertrecall .com is believed to be the first in the country to capitalize on the popularity of e-mailing and text messaging to report crime, the Arizona Republic reports. Phoenix police officer Cecil Jackson said kids usually know what’s happening on campus and are inclined to tell, “but they don’t want others to know they’re telling. When you’ve got 1,600 kids and you have the Web site, you don’t know who’s telling.” The Web site came online at the end of March, and within two days, a tip led to the arrest of a boy, 17, in the shooting of another teen.
Word of the site trickled across the state, and more than 60,000 e-mails have come in about drug activity, gang fights, shootings, stabbings, sexual assaults, and thefts both on campus and in students’ neighborhoods. More than 1 million students enrolled in Arizona schools potentially could use the Web site. Parents also are being encouraged to log on, and the goal is to pass the word to the 18.8 million high school students across the country by 2007. The non-profit Web site is funded by Jackson and a longtime friend as well as by donations. Jackson is seeking grants to keep it going. Some 71 percent of the nation’s public schools experienced one or more violent incidents on campus from 1992 to 2000, according to “Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2004,” from the National Center for Education Statistics. In 2002, more than 1.7 million non-fatal crimes were committed against students ages 12 to 18 at school.