Agile Communications Group and Anderson Software Announce Major Innovation to Fight Crime Worldwide

    The program, TipSoft SMS, provides a
    comprehensive means for over 1,200 Crime Stoppers programs worldwide to
    receive tips anonymously and securely reply to tipsters via their cell phones.

    Crime Stoppers, the well-known community action group that helps law
    enforcement agencies internationally, is the first to employ this emerging
    technology for public safety purposes. Identities of informants are fully
    protected, and they are assigned aliases under which to claim any applicable
    rewards. Recent deployments of similar technology in Boston and South Africa
    have proven the concept can be effective.

    Text messaging or Short Message Service (SMS) provides several advantages
    over traditional voice calls, especially when calling may not be feasible or
    safe. In the U.S. alone, 300,000 text messages are sent every minute of every
    day. As the use of SMS continues to grow, the value and variety of its
    applications also expand.

    Kevin Anderson, owner and CEO of Anderson Software and a longtime
    supporter and IT partner of Crime Stoppers from local to international levels,
    is committed to utilizing all available methods for obtaining information from
    the public.

    “Due to the enormous popularity of texting messages via cell phone, and
    being the industry leader in gathering tips, we felt it was time to develop
    and provide a truly secure and anonymous means of easily communicating with
    tipsters via text messages,” Anderson said.
    The senior developer with Anderson Software, Dr. Dan Bruton, notes: “SMS
    tips allow citizens to report on a crime in progress without having to say a
    word. This anywhere-anytime, silent, anonymous method of reporting is probably
    the simplest yet powerful approach to fighting crime we have ever offered.”

    Anna Gervait, founder and president of Agile Communications, predicts
    more citizens will take advantage of this new option to report suspected
    criminal activity.
    “Businesses across all sectors are discovering the valuable applications
    of text messaging to increase sales, educate customers, notify employees on
    multiple continents of critical news,” she said. “TipSoft SMS offers a way for
    law enforcement agencies to employ the same technology to save lives.”

    Technologically, SMS utilizes a much smaller bandwidth, can be
    transmitted faster than voice calls, and can be sent even when voice traffic
    is jammed or signal strength is too weak for voice calls. They also require
    much less battery power, and thus are a better choice for communicating when
    the battery is low or the phone is being used in a remote location. All of
    these advantages will serve Crime Stoppers tipsters in their quest to assist
    law enforcement without endangering themselves.

    Related applications for broader use by law enforcement agencies are
    currently in development and will be released this fall.
    “Agile Communications Group is dedicated to being the leader in creative
    and reliable applications for these emerging technologies,” Gervait says.

    Anderson says the collaboration of SMS tips with Agile’s platform fits in
    perfectly with his firm’s tip management software designed for school systems
    and for youth crime prevention through its Student Crime Prevention Resource
    Center.
    “We know this avenue will be utilized by all ages, but it is a real
    natural for the younger population who are so familiar with this form of daily
    communication,” Anderson says.

    TipSoft SMS is being welcomed enthusiastically in the Crime Stoppers
    community globally.
    Elaine Cloyd, president of Crime Stoppers USA, heralds the development of
    state of the art technology as extremely important to Crime Stoppers because
    taking truly anonymous tips on a 24/7 basis is the life blood of the program.
    She says: “We have worked with Anderson Software for many years, and many
    Crime Stoppers programs are using the TipSoft system. We were already excited
    about their new WebTip application, which has doubled the tips coming into
    many programs, and now look forward with anticipation to this TipSoft SMS
    product, especially for student programs.”

    Ralph Page, chair of the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association, reports:
    “We in Canada are delighted to now have the capability to receive tips via SMS
    text message. We commend Anderson and Agile for responding in such short order
    to our requirement for anonymous tipping. We do know that the younger
    generation in particular is very keen to use text messaging. It is our hope
    that we can further increase the number of tips coming into Crime Stoppers
    programs using this new, safe and secure technology. Now tipsters can submit
    tips by telephone, via WebTip, and by text messaging.”

    Peter Price, chair of Crime Stoppers Australia, adds: “Anonymous and
    secure SMS crime reporting will become more important to Crime Stoppers and
    police in the future, as the penetration of mobile communications grows at a
    pace outstripping landline communications. Further to this, if you see or
    hear something you no longer have to wait to report it. This increases the
    immediacy of the system and will expectedly reduce the time period for a
    course of events to unfold. It may even help stop an offender from re-
    offending.”

    Crimestoppers U.K. coordinator and vice-president of Crime Stoppers
    International, Detective Sgt. Michael Gordon-Gibson, sums it up: “I see the
    anonymous SMS tip capabilities now available to Crime Stoppers as being
    crucial to the progression of this global organization, not the least in
    trying to encourage teenagers to use Crimes Stoppers to give anonymous
    information in safety, as this is a medium they prefer and are using on a
    daily basis. In many cases they are the ones with good information on crime
    and anti-social behavior. A secure SMS capability also offers all sections of
    all communities around the world another secure line of communication to get
    valuable criminal intelligence into the law enforcement agencies. In the U.K.
    we are looking seriously at this solution and are currently working with CSI’s
    IT partner, Anderson Software, with a view to making it compatible with our
    whole U.K. Crimestoppers operation.”