Polk County Crime Stoppers has a hotline where people can call in and leave tips about a crime. Now they can do the same thing with a text message.
Texting is a quick and easy way to communicate. Polk County Crime Stoppers hopes more people are willing to send in a tip by text message. Specifically teenagers who may witness a crime.
"I could be sitting in a classroom, overhear that Johnny brought a gun to school and I can text it in right there," said Greg Willey, who is on the board for the Polk County Crime Stoppers.
Here's how it works.
If you want to report a tip that will help police solve a crime, just text "PCCS" plus your tip to the word "CRIMES" (274637).
That message goes through a system and is encrypted so no one can tell who sent it. Crime Stoppers is trying to get the message out to Iowa school kids with this poster.
"Kids know a lot more then just the schools," said Willey. "So I think as you get into the schools you're also getting into the community. And it's not just protecting the schools, it's also protecting the community."
You can also send a message online through www.polkcountycrimestoppers.org .
Local law enforcement think more people will report crimes in this quick and easy way.
"I think with the changing times with more people doing texting, especially the younger crowd it's only going to benefit people in the long run," said Deputy Jana Rooker of the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
So far this year, Crime Stoppers received over 600 tips by phone. They expect that number to go up when people start texting.
People who send tips still have a chance to get a reward. With the texting system they're given an id code. If that crime is solved, they have to contact Polk Country Crime Stoppers in order to get their reward.