Metropolitan police departments in Boston, Louisville, Cincinnati, San Francisco and others have implemented anonymous text-message crime tip hotlines.
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Police say that many tipsters feel more anonymous-- and thus, more comfortable-- using a texting tip system rather than phoning in a tip. So far, in certain cities, the texts have yielded several drug arrests and helped close a few murder cases, not to mention the huge upsurge in reports of misdemeanor crimes like petty vandalism and illegal dumping-- you know, the things you see all the time but would never bother to actually CALL the cops about? In those cases, it's not a question of feeling comfortable with anonymity so much as wondering if anyone really cares or if relating that information will make a difference. But with texts to police, just like with texts to friends, you feel more comfortable sending short bits of possibly unimportant information that doesn't really warrant a full phone call.

Personally, I think this is a great idea and hope that the Nashville Metropolitan Police could consider implementing such a system. There's no question that it would be used. Just last night I saw a Nashville texter twittering about a car he had seen being broken into.

Unfortunately, this system reeks of unconventionality, adaptability, and modern technology-- three things that the Metro Nashville PD usually avoid like anthrax.