Schools fight knife crime with anonymous SMS

UK mobile users will now be able to anonymously report crime using SMS text messaging.

Crimestoppers is piloting the programme at three Tower Hamlets schools in East London specifically focusing on knife crime - a serious concern in the capital for the past year. Early last month a man was stabbed in Oxford Street during the evening rush hour, and reports of teenagers being are stabbed common on newspaper pages.

Mobile phone users will be able to send anonymous information on crime incidents by sending text messages to a dedicated number run by Crimestoppers.

The SMS system allows complete anonymity because messages are encrypted and routed through several secure servers.

Crimestoppers UK bureau manager Michael Gordon-Wilson said that the independent charity was confident the pilot would be a success. The scheme would then be rolled out to schools across London with a view to a nationwide roll out in the near future.

"We know that young people are happy to help in our fight against crime providing it is straightforward and easy to do. They email and make phone calls but nowhere near as much as they text," Gordon-Wilson said.

"SMS is a fantastic way to reach out to this demographic. It's easily accessible and provides young people with peace of mind given the complete anonymity of the service," he added.

Text messaging mobile transaction network mBlox and US law enforcement and home security applications company Anderson Software are working together on the scheme.