In Antioch, Calif., 911 is no longer the only number for emergencies. The Contra Costa Times reports that Antioch has joined a national trend as one of the first cities in the Bay Area to use a service that takes text messages from cellphones and processes that information to pursue crime leads. By texting 274637 (CRIMES), and then putting “Antioch” and the tip in the body of the message, police can use the information to find evidence and solve cases, police Chief Allan Cantando said.
“Say there’s a shooting. People can text and say, ‘I saw this homicide and the guy buried the gun in the back corner of the yard,’ or ‘The suspect had this type of piercing,'” he said. “It’s simple to use and gets the community more engaged. Plus, it gives us a way to find that evidence and make arrests.” The TipSoft technology sends the text to a Canadian server, which relays a different identification tag back to Antioch police with the information, said William Kilmer, CEO of Public Engines, the company that created the program. Texters remain anonymous, unless they choose to give their name and address in the body of the text, Cantando said.