OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Faced with a rising homicide rate, the Oakland Police Department has adopted Nixle's "Tip Watch," a powerful new two-way notification service that allows witnesses to pass along anonymous tips via text message, Internet or phone call.
Nixle activated Tip Watch on Wednesday at the request of the Oakland Police, who have appealed for the public's help in looking for homicide suspects that left five East Oakland residents dead in unrelated shootings Monday night and Tuesday. Police report the murder rate is running 11% ahead of last year.
Through Tip Watch, witnesses can leave anonymous tips for the police—and even reply to follow-up questions from the department without revealing their identities.
"Nixle Tip Watch has the potential to increase our police force by thousands through the enlistment of the community's eyes and ears," says Oakland Police Chief Howard A. Jordan. "In the past, when tips were not shared due to community reluctance and fear, criminals were allowed to reoffend and re-victimize. Tip Watch anonymity removes that element of fear from the community's decision to report."
Nixle already offers a core product that allows police, fire and emergency service agencies to publish secure, one-way notifications to citizens via email or text messages or both. So far more than 6,000 public agencies have adopted Nixle to send localized alerts, advisories and community messages to more than 1 million public subscribers.
In addition to that core service, Oakland Police have become the first in the nation to add Tip Watch, which allows the public to talk back. People can leave anonymous messages in four ways:
- Click on the "Tip Watch" button on the Oakland PD's website;
- Reply to Oakland PD's Nixle messages by clicking on the "submit an anonymous tip" link;
- Text "TIP OAKLANDPD" to 888777;
- Dial 855-TIPS247 to speak anonymously to a hotline center.
After submitting a tip, the tipster receives a passcode allowing him or her to log onto the Nixle.com website and answer follow-up questions from police. Tip Watch protects the tipster's identity by blocking personally identifiable data.
"Nixle Tip Watch allows law enforcement agencies to harness the power of citizen participation and bring community policing to a new level," said Nixle Chief Operating Officer John Frank. "We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the Oakland police department and its decision to use this valuable public safety tool."