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Preventing Crime with Email? Yup, it works!

Move aside CSI, there is a new law enforcement tool that is revolutionizing the way public safety organizations solve and prevent crimes: email.

Email is the 21st century answer to tip lines, but it’s even better because it creates a two-way dialogue between the citizen and the police force. Email is able to leverage the power of local citizens and stakeholders to report criminal activity.

Take this example from GovDelivery, in Stearns County, MN, the Sheriff’s Office was looking for new ways to engage and educate the public on information sharing practices. Beyond using new technologies, the Sheriff wanted to be sure they offered clear and easy ways for the public to connect with his Office and interact with employees to help them better serve their constituents.

One of the main crime prevention resources that the Sheriff’s Office wanted to expand on was promoting the submission of urgent and non-urgent tips from the public. An evaluation of the tip submission process found it to be confusing, complicated, and unintuitive.

To simplify the process and ensure public exposure, Stearns County and GovDelivery designed a new Advanced Bulletin Template for the Sheriff’s Office regular public updates.

John Simpson, Engagement Consultant at GovDelivery, Explains How it works:

  • Embedded within the template, are prominent buttons depicting the different tip submission channels: Phone, Email, or Web.
  • Whether using a computer or a mobile device, clicking on each of the respective buttons now redirects the subscriber to the Sheriff’s Office phone number, email address, or an online tip submission tool.
  • A simple format with a clear, engaging call to action has allowed for the Sheriff’s Office to better encourage crime prevention, empower the public to report information to their office, and ultimately decrease the amount of crime in Stearns County.

Proven Success!

  • Just thirteen minutes after sending their inaugural message with the new Advanced Bulletin Template, the Sheriff’s office received a tip from a subscriber.

And Stearns County isn’t the only law enforcement office to take notice.

  • American University sends out mobile crime alerts to their students. The messages are interactive and allow students to relay tips back to University police.
  • Portland Oregon they’ve set up a Neighborhood Watch via email list serves to help suss out crime.

I encourage you to check out the GovDelivery’s Advanced Bullet Template and be sure to check out the Communications and Citizen Engagement resources page for more information.

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John Simpson

This is a great example of a simple method that can help change attitudes and offer consistent opportunities for the public to engage with local law enforcement organizations