Texting in an Emergency

The Boston police have finally started to catch up with the texting capabilities of police forces around the world.  They have set up a text messaging tip hotline where citizens can text in 'anonymous' tips.  Now, I have no earthly idea how anyone could establish an 'anonymous' tip capability, but the concept of texting in an emergency is not a new one.

Many police agencies and emergency response system coordinators encourage texting through coordinate systems under many scenarios that can range from texting when its not prudent to call:

  1. You have been kidnapped
  2. You are a hostage
  3. Your mouth is duct taped
  4. Your signal strenght or battery strength is very low
  5. The person you are contacting might not be available if you were to phone (voice mail is sometimes dangerous)

But there are also other scenarios where this can be useful.

  1. Large crowds can convey information to authorities without clogging up the phone lines.
  2. Some cell phones ould be equipped with sensors for Nuclear/Biological/Chemical attacks
  3. Sending pictures of events to authorities
    1. License plate of dangerous car
    2. image of dangerous person
    3. video of a suspicious incident
    4. picture video of a person harming a child (assuming you can't help)
  4. Receiving anonymous tips when someone doesn't want their voice heard (maybe they are on the fence about being an informant?)
  5. Accepting tips and information in the medium and form that it is available.  Sometimes you have to go with the flow. If people are using text messages to communicate, then accept information in that form.

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