Aug 19, 2019

Texts: new line of police defense

Fresno State students can now report campus crimes and be kept
anonymous. Students can text University Police at (559) 664-3204.
Photo illustration by Esteban Cortez / The Collegian

University Police at Fresno State have implemented a new crime-reporting system in which students can anonymously text in crimes.

Lt. Lupe Shrum of Fresno State’s University Police Department said that TipNow is a new way of using technology to get students more involved with campus police in order to prevent crimes.

“We just began using TipNow a few weeks ago when school started,” Shrum said. “We’ve received a few texts so far, but we don’t have enough data to gauge how effective it’s really been.”

University Police hope that students on campus will be able to effectively use TipNow not only to report crimes, but to assist the UPD in preventing crimes.

When a student sends in a tip, University Police immediately receives an alert on their computers

“We get an immediate response and from there we decide what action is needed,” Shrum said. “Do we need to send an officer there right away?”

Some Fresno State students are wary about the new system.

“I think it’s a good and a bad thing,” Senior Kim-Ngan Nguyen said. “There is so much potential for abuse, since it’s anonymous.”

Nguyen said she would use TipNow if she found the opportunity.

“It’s a fast and easy way to take care of a problem,” Nguyen said.

San Jose State University also uses the TipNow anonymous texting system John Laws, a sergeant with San Jose State University Police Department, explained that the campus has been using the program for almost a year.

“It’s fairly easy to use,” Laws said. “It helps to get the community involved in their own safety. It’s definitely beneficial to the campus.”

Laws also commented on abuse of the TipNow system.

“We get good reports, but we also get some silly ones,” Laws said. “For example, ‘The guy next to me in the library smells.’ Most of the time, that’s not what we get, but it happens.”

Fresno State University Police is now working on making students aware of the TipNow system.

“We are in the process of promoting it,” Shrum said. “We have been placing posters around campus.

“We just want students to start texting in if they see something suspicious,” Shrum said. “If there is someone suspicious at the residents halls, or if there is someone at a bike rack, just standing around or someone looking into vehicles.”

Shrum added that if used effectively, the TipNow system would really benefit the University Police Department and students.

“We don’t have enough officers to be constantly watching every portion of our 1,400 acre campus and the surrounding businesses,” Shrum said. “If we get the assistance of the students and the community, it is more likely that we can stop a crime from happening.”

The number for Fresno State’s TipNow line is (559) 664-3204.

“You can even use the number for medical emergencies,” Shrum added.

“We just encourage students to use it responsibly and to be accountable,” Shrum continued. “There are more eyes out there. Everyone can help one another to enhance community safety at the university.”

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