SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The statewide tip line Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody created more than a year ago—**TIPS on your cell phone—is now a national hotline, she announced Monday afternoon at the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
**TIPS was created to avoid confusion between the many different Crimeline and Crimestoppers hotlines across Florida, which tipsters are expected to remember depending on where they are.
“Before, we had 27 different crime reporting numbers across Florida. So if you happen to have information, you had to determine what that number was where you were,” Moody said.
Moody, standing in front of police chiefs and sheriffs from Orlando and Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, announced **TIPS now works anywhere in the U.S.
It’s operated by Crimestoppers, which is also affiliated with Crimeline.
Central Florida Crimeline Executive Director Barb Bergin said **TIPS received 1,100 calls with information over the past year and it’s only getting started. Once people learn **TIPS, like 911 or *FHP, they will use it, Bergin said.
The Crimeline number, 1-800-423-TIPS, will still function but Bergin said calling **TIPS will route your call to the closest tip-taking agency, which will then forward the information to the agency in the corresponding city.
“If I’m speaking to the Rotary Club I’ll ask what my phone number is and they say 1-800-423-TIPS so that’s an ingrained number that they know, but for people who don’t know, **TIPS will absolutely work,” Bergin said.
Bergin said calls to Crimeline have solved thousands of crimes in its 45 years of existence.
“Anonymous tips give our community, our citizens, the ability to engage but not have to put themselves in situations where there could be something happening, retribution, other things like that,” Bergin said. “It’s happening 24 hours a day across this country with Crime Stoppers.
Bergin said when detectives were searching for the driver of a black Mercedes shooting at drivers on Central Florida highways, the first tip that came into Crimeline cracked the case.