ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford residents can now send police tips by text, video, or photo through a new tip reporting service.
The new Tip 411 service will allow a user to send anonymous tips via text message to the Rockford Police Department, by texting “RPDTIP [your tip here]” to 847411.
“Anything that makes it easier for the community to report,” said Andrea Cox, chair of the Blue 815. “We know that we would probably rather text than pick up the phone and call in today’s world.”
Police say the sender’s cellphone number is obscured and cannot be seen by the police department.
“We all know there are various reasons as to why a citizen may not want to report to an officer while they are on the scene,” Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd said. However, she said “Tip 411 is not a substitute for calling 911” in the event of an emergency.
“This seems like a really easy way to get everybody involved and easily report things they are seeing,” Cox said.
Redd and Mayor Tom McNamara announced the new service on Tuesday, which is being done in partnership with CrimeStoppers.
“Solving crime is like putting a puzzle together,” Redd said. “I get a resident over here that’s seen something suspicious, another one that saw the vehicle fleeing the area. All of that information is what we need to solve crimes.”
McNamara agreed. He said that it is just another tool to help solve the crimes that are happening in residents’ neighborhoods.
“Additional license plate reader, cameras, gunshot detection, software things of that nature,” McNamara said. “This is yet another tool in that tool box and I would argue that this is really a tool for our officers, but it is also a tool for our citizens.”
The service is live now. Cox hopes that others will download the app to help local law enforcement keep the community safe.
“They are making it easy for us to get involved now,” she said. “It’s up to us as the citizens to be willing to help out and willing to accept the reasonability we have in helping to deter crime, instead of just talking about it or complaining about it.”
By using the service, users can also receive bulletins from Rockford Police.
Redd said she hopes residents will also use the service to report reckless behavior by ATV riders on city streets.