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Crime Stoppers taking over Text-A-Tip program in Northland

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The people who run the Text-A-Tip program in the Northland school districts have been very successful during the past five years. Its success is why the Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline is now taking it over.

These days, everyone has a cell phone. Students in Northland schools have been able to use their cell phones to text crime tips anonymously, and because of how much the program has grown, Crime Stoppers is stepping in to help.

"A lot of people don't want to be the snitch in the school, so it would be a great way for them to just be quiet and text it in, and they can go on with their day," said Jade Sissel, a Senior at Kearney High School.

"I wouldn't want to go and tell on somebody and then it comes back to me," said Eric Campbell, a Senior at Oak Park High School.

The anonymous Text-A-Tip program in Northland schools has been widely successful for the past five years. Now, Crime Stoppers is stepping in due to the amount of tips.

"The issue became that we were getting so many tips given to us from parents and students that we needed a better way of tracking and handling that information," said Sgt. Steve Taylor, with the Clay County, Missouri Sheriff's Office.

A news conference was held Wednesday to announce the new partnership between the Northland Safe Schools Task Force and Crime Stoppers.

"It will make us more responsive to the students and the parents needs in the school districts of the Northland," said Sgt. Taylor.

"We want them to be good stewards of their community which is school, and we also want them to learn, so when they become adults, when they actually are in their communities working and taking care of their families that they realize that the Crime Stoppers concept is there and they can always using that anonymous reporting source to keep their community safe," said Det. Kevin Boehm, with the KCPD and Crime Stoppers.

The Text-A-Tip program is designed to make schools safer, and give kids a chance to anonymously notify someone if a problem arises, no questions asked.

"We have intervened in a number of threatened suicides, we recovered weapons, intervened in bullying situations," said Sgt. Taylor.

In fact, within the past week they recovered marijuana laced gummy bears from a tip. The additional help from Crime Stoppers will now allow a faster response.

"So we can intervene within a matter of minutes, not days," Sgt. Taylor said.

The goal is to reach school districts beyond the Northland, Kearney and Liberty.

"We hope to grow this in multiple schools," said Det. Boehm.

Since texting is a primary way of communication for students these days, the flow of information should continue to grow.

"We text all the time, so I don't think it will be a problem," said Sissel.

"We're out, we're seeing everything," said Campbell. "There's a lot more of us, and we can always help."

Each school has been provided a "key word" to help get the tip information to the appropriate parties.

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