Norfolk Crime Line officials are urging students to utilize a new tipping feature. Anonymous tips of criminal activity can now be reported via text message, and online to the Norfolk Crime Line.
Phil Davenport, president of Norfolk Crime Line, said at a press conference Feb. 12 that text tipping can be done with any electronic device with text messaging capabilities.
Tipsters must text the word NORFOLK and a tip to 274637. All tips are anonymous and those submitting them can earn cash rewards on those leading to arrests. Police detectives investigate tips, but the identities and phone numbers of “tipsters” are unknown.
“Anonymity is of the utmost importance,” said Davenport.
According to Crime Line, 288 tips were reported in Norfolk in 2012 resulting in 94 arrests and 118 solved cases, four of which were homicide cases. Cash rewards for that year totaled $22,250.
The Norfolk Crime Line is a non-profit organization directed, funded and promoted by a civilian community board of directors. They meet on a monthly basis to evaluate arrests and determine reward amounts up to $1,000.
Rewards are distributed in a private manner to callers, and now text tipsters. However, according to Norfolk Crime Line’s website, many choose not to collect their rewards. Incidentally, tipsters do not need to testify to collect a reward.
A common myth is that NCL does not pay out reward despite saying so. According to the website, “If Crime Line didn’t follow through on its promises, it would never have survived.”
On average, Norfolk Crime Line gives more than $17,000 a year in rewards, and helps to recover tens of thousands sometimes more than $1 million in drugs and stolen property.
“Norfolk Crime Line is definitely here to stay. It has been accepted by police as a valid and effective investigative tool and the public, through its overwhelming response, appears to have accepted it as a more palatable alternative to traditional methods of giving information,” the NCL webpage said.