Published: Oct 21, 2010 10:45 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 21, 2010 3:58 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - In the coming weeks the Fort Myers Police Department will be giving city middle and high school students “tip” cards reminding them how to anonymously text crime information. The goal is to increase awareness and prevention of violence in all forms including harassment, bullying and intimidation.

The plastic cards can be easily kept in a wallet, purse, or backpack or posted inside a locker for easy access. Due to the enormous popularity of text messaging among teens and the prevalence of bullying Chief Doug Baker hopes to reach those who wouldn’t normally pickup the phone to call police. “It’s their personal safety channel to alert police of a possible danger. For example they may know of a planned fight, see a weapon, or a posting on Facebook that could indicate danger or have knowledge of a drug deal. We want to keep our schools safe.”

Since October of 2009 the Fort Myers Police Department has utilized state of the art technology to receive crime tips. TipSoft SMS, short message service, is 100% anonymous. No one will know the identity of the text tipster. The technology routes messages through a server that encrypts cell phone numbers before they get to police. The technology also allows investigators to securely reply back to the cell phone without compromising the tipster’s identity.

Texting allows people to notify police when calling may not be feasible or safe. It also helps combat the anti-snitch era. Texting a tip is easy. All you have to do is text message C-R-I-M-E-S (274637) and use the key word FMPD in the body of the text. The technology makes giving police the 411 2EZ.