BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — As a parent, you expect that your child will be safe from harm while at school. However, any environment can be corrupted. That’s exactly why Crime Stoppers of Baton Rouge urges students to utilize its texting program.
“We find that students text a lot more than they talk on the phone,” Cpt. Don Stone, Baton Rouge Police Department at Crime Stoppers, said. “They can give us as much information as they please about any dangers they encounter. It’s completely anonymous, so how much safer can they get than that?
“All you have to do is send a text to the word CRIMES (274637), then in the text type CS225 and follow it with the tip you have,” Cpt. Stone added. “By putting in that code, that tells the system what department and where to send the text.”
Students can text Crime Stoppers with any information regarding a personal or public risk to safety at school.
“We have had several incidents in the Baton Rouge area at local schools where we have received tips,” Cpt. Stone noted. “We have handled cases of bullying and we consider that to be a criminal offense just like any other.”
Earlier today a student at Glen Oaks High School brought an unloaded gun to school because he feared an altercation with another student. That student did initiate an altercation by force. By the end of the day, both students ended up in jail.
Crime Stoppers hopes more students will avoid taking matters into their own hands and rely on the anonymous texting system to express fears for safety.
“When a student sends in a tip, we get it immediately,” he said. “We then take that information and contact the appropriate agency. It’s a 24-hour, seven day a week system.”
And it’s a system that has proven results.
In 2011 alone Crime Stoppers of Baton Rouge was responsible for 432 felony arrest, which is an increase of 27 percent from the prior year. They took in a total of 21,073 calls. Now, a new texting system hopes to see the same success.
“What we like about the texting system over the hotline is that with a text, we have the ability to message the person back if we need additional information,” Cpt. Stone added.
Although Crime Stoppers can return a text message, the anonymity of the tipster is not compromised.
“I do not get their phone number,” Cpt. Stone noted. “The program we use does not send the texters name or phone number to us, just the message. I do not know who the person is. No one does.”
Of course you can still call in a tip. That number is (225) 344-STOP (7867).