Law enforcement asks students to send crime tips via text message

I find it interesting how many kids theses days have cell phones, probably because I never had one until after college. Today, even elementary school kids are equipped with the latest mobile devices. I can understand the convenience aspect—i.e., parents can call and tell their children they’ll be a few minutes late when picking them up, children can tell their parents they’re taking the bus and no longer need a ride, etc. And if there is a real emergency, a cell phone is invaluable. Those of us who didn’t have access to such technology, however, managed to work it out. After all, there were always pay phones for the real emergencies.

The problem with kids using cell phones in schools is that most children spend all day using them to text message their friends, play games, etc. Teachers become frustrated and students miss out on what’s going on in the classroom.

And now, Crime Stoppers gives students another reason to text while at school.

The East Volusia News has this article about Crime Stoppers in Daytona Beach, Florida, instituting a new program encouraging students to send anonymous text messages to law enforcement.

Crime Stoppers wants to be able to reach children, said Suzanne DeWees, executive director. It’s a user-friendly technology for teens that can be used safely at school. They can just walk down the hall and text (a tip).

Crime Stoppers will put posters in every classroom in Volusia and Flagler counties — 6,372 total — as well as on VOTRAN buses.

A really nice aspect of this program is that we can text back, keep it anonymous and ask questions, and the sender can find out if their tip led to an arrest.

So Crime Stoppers is recruiting a bunch of student investigators. What a dumb idea. Do your own investigative work, and leave the rest to the teachers and school administrators. This anonymous program is ripe for bogus tips, which, of course, will lead to wasted resources. Not to mention the disruption it will cause in the school environment:

Teacher (Mr. Smith): Mikey, I told you no texting in class.

Mikey: It’s okay Mr. Smith, I’m just sending a crime tip.

And law enforcement can text back to get more info? I text, and it isn’t the quickest mode of communication. But who cares if students spend time at school helping out the police—it’s not like they have better things to do while they’re there. The program may yield a few helpful tips, but at what cost?