Student submitted tip about gun in school via app - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Student submitted tip about gun in school via app

It keeps users completely anonymous. It first sends the tip to a site in Canada, then removes the contact info and sends it back to police. It keeps users completely anonymous. It first sends the tip to a site in Canada, then removes the contact info and sends it back to police.

(WMC-TV) - An anonymous tip submitted through an app by a student led officials to an unloaded gun in a student's backpack at Cypress Middle School Tuesday.

A program called Trust Pays, which is part of CrimeStoppers, took 129 guns out of Shelby County Schools over the course of five years – 26 of those out of elementary schools.

"Students are free to go to any adult member of the faculty that they trust," said CrimeStoppers Executive Director Buddy Chapman. "In this particular case, through the use of tipsoft we were able to find the gun and confiscate it."

The incident at Cypress Middle School was the 129 gun turned in anonymously through Trust Pays, but this case was different than most. The student used TipSubmit Mobile, an app that sends a secure text message to report a crime.

It keeps users completely anonymous. It first sends the tip to a site in Canada, then removes the contact info and sends it back to police.

"If we need to get back to the sender, we go back through Canada and it goes back to them," said Chapman.

All of it happens within minutes and gives more eyes and ears to school officials and law enforcement. The program seems to be working, numbers show that 24 guns were reported during the 2006-2007 school year; last year that number cut in half to just 12 guns reported.

Though most tips have been given directly to principals and teachers, CrimeStoppers says using the app to text a tip might become a new trend.

"The program does work, and in addition to those 129 guns, we've gotten well over 200 other weapons, well over 400 cases of drugs," said Chapman.

There is a cash incentive to reporting crimes.

"Probably $200 at least," said Chapman.

A small incentive, that officials hope will get a large response.

"You've got some serious stuff going on out there in school," said Chapman. "Think about the other 128 that have also been courageous."

To text a tip the caller first types the keyword "award" and then a message to CRIMES (274697). The call is toured, without identification, to the Memphis Police Real Time Crime Center.

TipSubmit Mobile App is an anonymous and full-featured smartphone app that allows the public to submit tips to law enforcement. In the case of schools, the tip is normally turned over to principals and police are called when necessary. Click here to learn more.

As for school security, superintendent Dorsey Hopson said hand wands will be made available in all elementary schools, but it will cost $18,000 to $20,000. They say the funding will come from the budget.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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