WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Have you witnessed a crime in your area and want to tell police, but you're worried you won't stay anonymous? Then maybe you should Text-a-Tip. Wilmington Police have used the program for a couple of years, and they say it's working. Police say Text-a-Tip's guarantee of being completely anonymous is gaining the public's trust.
There's a street code that over the years has made it harder for law enforcement to do their job.
"We've been struggling with this no snitching mentality that every city has around the country," Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said.
But for two years now WPD has been using Text-a-Tip.
"All that information you type in goes into a server to a different country, I believe canada, scrubs everything, and then it's sent to us," Evangelous said. "So we really have no way to back track who is sending this anonymous tip to us."
The idea behind Text-a-Tip is simple. It eliminates the public's fears of being tracked by law enforcement. It also reaches out to younger generation who would rather text than talk.
"We had a tip come in that a 15-year-old was carrying a gun at one of our middle schools," Evangelous said. He said the program started slowly, but soon blew up to more than 200 tips this year alone. Some texts alone have solved cases
"It started out as a male and female going into grocery stores. The male would distract an older female shopper the female would then grab her purse while she wasn't looking. They would then run out of the store and immediately start using the credit cards," Det. Mike Overton said. "We ended up getting a Text-a-Tip that gave us both names, gave us the guy's car, the type of car he was driving. So we got these two people off the street, and soon they'll be spending time in prison."
All because a witness let their fingers do the talking.
Evangelous says he gives the public his word that Text-a-Tip is totally anonymous. He's confident the program will continue to grow, possibly to where a text tip could solve a murder.