USF Asks Students to Text Crime Tips


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USF connects students to dispatchers via texts

When you contact the USF Police Department for help, you could always call them.  Starting today, you can also text them.

“There is some back and forth conversation, or can be, with the person submitting the tip and the call is treated just like a tip on the phone would be received,” said Christopher Akin, USF Information Technology.

Police expect to get text messages from students on everything from suspicious people, to car burglaries in progress and laptops thefts.

“We believe that they’ll feel more inclined to get involved with the anonymity,” said Assistant Chief J.D. Withrow, USF Police Department.

Withrow has been with USF Police Department for 25 years and has seen safety changes evolve on campus.

University Police rolled out four new safety applications in under a year, connecting emergency dispatchers to students in different ways including one that lets students check in with police when they safely arrive at an on-campus destination.

The new technology will cost the University $60,000 every year but Withrow believes the safety innovations are worth it.

He is the Assistant Police Chief, but he’s also a dad with two USF students.  “We need those eyes and ears out there to tell us what’s going on,” he said.

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