Statesboro residents can now have up-to-date crime information at their fingertips by using a program that sends crime alerts by text.
Public Safety Director Wendell Turner said the Nixle Community Information Service “allows us to send important, valuable community information directly to residents using the latest technology.”
Very similar to a program used by Georgia Southern University to communicate with students and faculty, “The Nixle Community Information Service allows us to create and publish messages to be delivered to subscribed residents instantly via cell phone text message and/or email,” he said. “Notifications can also be accessed online at Nixle’s website at www.nixle.com.”
To subscribe, text your ZIP code to 888777, anyone can subscribe, he said. Then, when an incident occurs in your neighborhood, you will receive instant notifications as text messages.
The program was used Tuesday when two men robbed victims at gunpoint at Cambridge at Southern Apartments, Turner said. Residents were immediately notified of the suspects’ descriptions. Should anyone have seen them, they would have been able to contact police, he said.
The text alerts will cover crime, fires, weather issues and road closures “as well as other relevant safety and community event information,” he said.
“This program has already had significant positive community feedback, and we are certainly looking forward to its continued success in keeping our community informed,” he said. “The service is secure, reliable and easy to use.”
The alerts can be sent specifically to residents registered within a quarter-mile radius as a means of targeting certain areas, giving people “the opportunity to receive trustworthy information relevant only to their neighborhood,” Turner said.
Residents choose the agencies from which they want to receive information. Subscribers can also choose to receive alerts by email, text or through the Internet.
Nixle builds on the foundations of other public-to-public communication services, such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, but adds a key component: security. When residents receive information from Statesboro Public Safety via Nixle, they know it can be trusted, Turner said.
Residents of Statesboro and surrounding communities immediately can begin receiving pertinent information via text message, email and Internet by registering at www.nixle.com. Those who only want to receive text messages can text 30458 to 888777, he said.
“The more people use it, the more effective it can be,” Turner said. When residents are better informed, they can provide information to police that may help solve crimes, he said.
Anonymous tips can also be sent by typing the keyword “TIPSSPD” plus the message to 274637 (CRIMES), Turner said.
Holli Deal Bragg can be reached at (912) 489-9414.