The new service is called TipSoft, and it allows citizens to send anonymous tips online through crimestoppersofwaukeshacounty.com or by sending text messages to "CRIMES" (274637) with the keyword WAUKESHA from a mobile phone.
Citizens can also contact Crime Stoppers by using a toll free tip line at 1-888-441-5505.
Authorities say TipSoft will create a two-way dialog between law enforcement agencies and members of the public, that is secure and anonymous. "The old means of communication that we were all used to - you calling on a phone - that's just not the way that people who have criminal information communicate. For some young people, they may not even know what a payphone is. Everyone has a cell phone and everyone has internet capability, and shooting a text is the easiest way to do it. It was time for us to start doing that, too," Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel said.
The service allows tipsters to remain anonymous by encrypting the messages, assigning them a unique alias and ID number, and routing them through a secure server, which will protect personal details of the provider. "We've got the capability for once we get the tip, we can communicate back to the informant without us having to know who they are. We can get back to them in a secure and anonymous way," Schimel said.
Waukesha County did research into this program and discovered that other counties are doing the same thing, and having great success. "We're excited about this. We explored a lot of other jurisdictions that have engaged with this company that provides this service, and they have seen their number of tips, and thus, their number of crimes solved, and their number of criminals apprehended, increase dramatically," Schimel said.
Your Crimestoppers tips could lead to a $1,000 reward. For additional information, click here.