NOLA SMS Crime Alerts Network
NOLA SMS Crime Alerts Network
MSNBC – Big Easy fights crime via text message
Press – Video
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 14:07
Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 February 2009 14:47 )
NOLA SMS Crime Alert Network
Saturday, 24 January 2009 12:31
WHY: One night soon after the tragic murder of Wendy Byrnes in the French Quarter, a friend of Wendy’s was mugged in the Marigny. Concerned friends sent out text messages to others warning them of the specific area to avoid and to be careful in general – and urging everyone to pass the message along. Ten copies of the same text message and three phone calls later, the idea to set up an SMS Crime Alert Network was born, with the intention of warning as many people as possible of recent and/or in-progress crimes without inundating anyone with multiple copies of the same message.
An SMS (text message) based Crime Alert notification network allowing community members to warn other community members of recent and/or in-progress crimes. Timely warnings will help community members steer clear of “hot spots”, alert people of suspicious characters to watch out for, help track stolen vehicles and other items and further track crimes. Unfortunately the public officials in New Orleans have not seen fit to properly address the severe crime problem in New Orleans, and while the Crime Alert Network does not address the roots of this problem, it is our hope that the network will help keep people a little bit safer, provide the community with all too often unreported details of crimes, and provide an independent log of crimes that occur in our city. copy of all SMS Crime Alerts will be forwarded to NOPD and a multitude of other public officials on a weekly basis and will also be archived on this website.
HOW TO SIGN UP:
Sign up to send and receive SMS (text) Crime Alerts on your cell phone for areas of the city you live/work/play in (sign up links below). While you will be able to receive messages immediately, please allow up to 24 hours before you are able to post.
If you are the victim of or witness to a crime, SMS the appropriate neighborhood group with pertinent information by texting 68398 (add the number to your address book to keep it handy!) and starting the body of the message with the # symbol. Tatango, the SMS service utilized, will send back a message prompting you to select which group you would like to send your message to.
Before sending an SMS, please make sure one has not already been sent for the particular crime, only send another SMS if you have additional useful information to add.
Be as specific as possible – time, location, description of crime and perpetrator(s) – any and all information that will help others from becoming a victim of the same crime/criminal and/or help catch the criminals or retrieve stolen property. However, It is very important to refrain from posting specific personal/identifying information (exact address, names, phone numbers), and please refrain from editorializing!
A short, all-age appropriate ad will follow all posts – these are placed by Tatango and allow the Crime Alert Network to remain free. The only costs to the end user will be whatever charges your cell phone service normally charges you for sending and receiving text messages.
We will be adding additional neighborhood groups, but would prefer them to be user suggested rather than try to figure out appropriate subdivisions for areas of the city we (the creators of the network) do not personally live in. To request a group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
To stop receiving alerts, reply STOP to the latest alert or email email@example.com .
Repeatedly posting alerts repeating already posted information and/or posting specific personal/identifying information will first result in a warning, subsequent offenses may result in termination of your account.
This network is for Crime Alerts ONLY! Posting ANYTHING off-topic will result in loss of user account. This is very important!
SIGN UP FOR GROUPS:
See sign up numbers and links in the left hand column of this page.
The network and this website are a work in progress, please bear with us as we grow and feel free to send any and all suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 February 2009 12:26 )
Scam Artist Alert
Crime Alerts – Urgent Crime Alerts
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 16:07
Reprinted from NOLA.com Vieux Carre Forum:
Warning. There’s a con artist at work in the FQ.
Description: Uses name David Jenkins (probably fake), slender, slight build, white male, about 5″9′ tall, medium height, yellow teeth, black, curly hair, high or receeding hairline on each side, narrow face, pointy chin, light colored pants, light blue plaid shirt with long sleeve tee shirt underneath, local accent, fast talker, jokes around, tries to make friends. Looks like a laborer or construction worker.
His vehicle: He drives a small, white, busted up pick-up truck, like a Chevy S-10, Louisiana license plate number X399683.
He tells you he’s your neighbor and needs a few dollars to replace his fuel filter in his truck. Then he comes back later, acting embarrassed, and asks for a few dollars more. He throws around a few names from the neighborhood and tells you where he supposedly lives. Then he may ask you to cash a $50 dollar bill, which is probably counterfeit. You’ll never see your money again.
He got me for $30 (shame on me), but I got his license plate number (shame on him) and name (probably fake).
I’m told he has victimized others in the FQ, and have some names and details in that regard, and I reported the above to NOPD on 1/31/09.
If you see him, please post his location, as well as name and address if you know who he is. I would like to pay him a surprise visit, and let him keep the $30.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 February 2009 12:26 )
Crime Alerts Sign Up
Send a text to 68398 with the appropriate join code, or click on a neighborhood name for web-based signup:
Algiers Point, Whitney, McDonogh, Fischer):
(Behrman, US Naval Support):
Faubourg St. John
(Fortin Street, Onzaga Street, Broad Street, Orleans Avenue, Carrollton Avenue, Moss Street and back to Fortin Street):
Lower Garden District:
Lower Ninth Ward:
New Aurora/English Turn:
New Orleans East:
(Lafayette Square area, Warehouse District, Arts District):
Behind the Network
The NOLA SMS Crime Alerts Network is every member of our community who has signed up to participate! This group was started by Andrea Garland, a resident of the Bywater and former co-organizer of NOLA Against Crime, after the murder of Wendy Byrne and is administered by residents of New Orleans who volunteer their time and passion to keep this city safe for all residents.
Support the Network
While the Crime Alert Network will always remain free to use and is run by volunteer endeavors, there are some out of pocket expenses. Your donations will help cover the costs of the SMS Service, website maintenance and promotions as well as future investments in expanding the Crime Alert Network’s capabilities. We appreciate any contribution you are able to make!
The company that invented the technology utilized by the NOLA SMS Crime Alert Network is called Tatango. You may find more information about them at their website. We are very grateful to have their technology available to us in the City of New Orleans.
1. How do I join?
You may sign up in two ways. The first way to join is via your cell phone using text messaging. The second way is to use the website link for the neighborhood area you would like to join.
From your phone: You will send a text message to the number 68398 with the JOIN CODE for the neighborhood area you would like to receive alerts from. The JOIN CODE goes in the message body of your message. The number 68398 is the number you are sending the text message to. After your text is sent you will receive a confirmation message that states the neighborhood name and “You have joined this group.”
From the web: Click the link for the neighborhood area you would like to join. The website will prompt you to enter your name and your phone number. After you have entered your name and phone number, click NEXT. A text message will be sent to your phone with the JOIN CODE. It will say “To join Crime Alert enter this join code online”. You will type the JOIN CODE into the website and click NEXT. A confirmation message will be sent to your phone that states the neighborhood name and “You have joined this group.”
2. How do I send a crime alert to my neighborhood group?
After you have joined your neighborhood group, if you have crime information you will send a text message to the number 68398. The body of your text message must begin with the # (pound symbol).
An example message would look like this:
#auto theft at the corner of main street and crawfish parkway. Suspect wearing black and green striped shirt, blue jeans and black tennis shoes.
Note: If you belong to more than one neighborhood group you will receive a text message to your phone asking you which neighborhood group you would like to receive the message. You will hit reply and reply with the NUMBER (Example: 1) of the group. Do not include the # symbol in the select neighborhood group reply message.
3. How do I remember the number to send messages to?
We suggest that you add the number 68398 as one of your contacts in your phone, so that you will always be able to remember the number to send crime alerts to. You many name the contact whatever you would like it to be, such as “Crime Alerts”. Remember your crime alert must begin with the # (pound) symbol.
4. How do I find the # (pound) symbol on my phone when composing my message?
Your cell phone will vary. The # (symbol) is located in different places on cell phones. You may have to select to type symbol in order to enter it into the body of your text message.
5. If I no longer want to receive messages, how do I leave the group?
Send a text message to 68398 with the word STOP.
6. Can I belong to more than one neighborhood group?
Yes. Enter the JOIN CODE for each neighborhood group you want to join (you must complete the full sign up process for each group, do not include more than one JOIN CODE at a time). Note, if you belong to more than one neighborhood group and would like to send a crime alert, you will first compose your crime message and send it. Your phone will then receive a text message asking you which neighborhood group you would like to receive the message. You will reply with the number (digit) of the neighborhood group you would like to receive the message (Example: 1, as in the number 1).
7. I do not have text messaging, can I still receive these alerts?
Not at this time. We are hoping in the future that there may be a way to add email notifications. However, we be posting a list of the crime messages sent for each neighborhood on the website on a weekly basis as well sending a copy to New Orleans police districts and the city officials of New Orleans to encourage their help in keeping New Orleans safe.
8. I am not receiving my confirmation code when trying to sign up, what do I do?
There are a few reasons why you might not be receiving texts on your mobile phone. Let’s run through a basic troubleshooting process as to why you might not be receiving text messages from Tatango.
Have you given it a little time?
Some carriers take a little longer than others for their text messages to reach a mobile phone, especially during peak traffic times on the mobile network.
Was your phone number correct?
Ensure the number you entered as your mobile phone number was correct.
Is your mobile phone carrier supported?
Tatango currently supports most USA carriers, which are listed below:
Alltel, AT&T, Centennial, Cingular, Cincinnati Bell, Dobson Cellular Systems, Enid/Pioneer, Helio, Midwest Wireless, Nextel Communications, NTELOS, Sprint PCS Wireless, Suncom, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon Wireless
If you are using a cell phone provider that you do not see here, you unfortunately won’t be able to use Tatango.
Are you able to receive “short code” text messages?
A “short code” is a 5 digit phone number that is used to deliver text messages from a website to a mobile phone. This is also the same method in which media content such as ringtones, backgrounds etc. are distributed to mobile phones. If you have turned off the ability to receive media content on your mobile phone, you will also not be able to receive Tatango messages.
To test if your phone is able to receive “short code” text messages, text the word HELP to the phone number 68398 from your mobile phone. If you DO receive a text message with various help information about the tatango service, your phone and plan supports “short code” text messaging, which means that you have entered your mobile phone number into Tatango incorrectly. If you DO NOT receive a text message, the next step is to contact your mobile service provider and have them enable “short code” text messaging.
9. Does it cost money to join?
No. The system is free. We do gratefully accept donations via paypal to help cover the costs of website maintenance and publicity, as well as possible future expenditures to expand the functionality of the network.
10. What can I do to help?
Staying vigilant and sharing crime information for your neighborhood is the most important thing you can do. Suggestions and donations are appreciated. If you would like to become more involved, please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com.