Boston is starting a crime alert system that will send text messages, e-mails, and faxes to residents when crimes occur in their neighborhoods, reports the Boston Globe. The system, run by the Boston police and the Internet company CitizenObserver.com, is aimed at disseminating crucial information about crimes — including times, locations, descriptions of suspects, and photographs — into the hands of those most affected and those in the best position to help police find suspects.
The program, which is also being used in Cincinnati and in several other cities across the country, allows police to take the information they have gleaned from a break-in or bank robbery and post it on a Web site, where it is then automatically transmitted to anyone who signed up to receive the messages. The alerts are also available online. The program is initially being tested in three police districts and could expand to cover the rest of the city later this year. The initial cost is about $1,475, police officials said. Target Corp., which donated gift cards for a city gun buyback program earlier this week, is paying much of the start-up cost.