June 15, 2007 By News Report
With more mobile users relying on text messages to communicate every day, the Boston Police Department is launching a text-message based tip line. The new Crime Stoppers tip line, designed by Hill Holliday and powered by VeriSign Inc., enables Boston residents to anonymously provide information about crimes that may help police make their communities safer.
"The City of Boston is excited to introduce this new and innovative approach to the Boston Police Department's Crime Stoppers program," said Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis. "We are confident that the anonymity of the text function coupled with the sophisticated outreach program will inspire individuals to provide police with helpful, investigative tips."
VeriSign powers the Boston Crime Stoppers text messaging platform, provisioned the C-R-I-M-E short code, and manages the system's easy-to-use user interface. Despite its back-end complexities, for citizens the system is as simple as texting the word "tip" to C-R-I-M-E (27463).
The information received will be channeled to a police department interface. The system masks all personal identifiable information (e.g. mobile phone numbers) before sending any text-messaged information to the Police Department. Through the interface, the Boston Police Department can immediately exchange messages with the tipster to obtain information about the crime and the details necessary to respond rapidly.
Mobile users in North America currently send more than 650 million text messages each day, and according to M:Metrics, the most active texters are young adults (ages 18-24) with more than 70 percent sending text messages every month.
Photo -- Pierrette Guertin - FOTOLIA
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.