What is it?
A Crime prevention group texting process administrated by Kingston Police working in conjunction with downtown businesses with purposes of keeping participants informed and communicating regarding current activities which could impact their respective business. This information could help deter future criminal activity.
How does it work?
Participants voluntarily provide contact information from their business (see Registration Form). Each person participating as contact for their respective business will require a cell phone. Businesses will send the information to police at address provided. Police will input information in a ‘group me’ file.
For those with smartphones an app can also be downloaded for free. These are not required to have your phone work, as they are only text messages, but the application interface can be easier to view.
Further information can be found at groupme.com
Participants will receive a text message in the form of a cellular number with unique area code. Participants will save the number as a contact on his/her cell phone. At this point the program will be active and the user would be able to receive information as well as text information to the group. The focus of the program is to encourage greater communication among businesses in efforts to deter impacts felt by negative activities in our community.
*NOTE: Businesses are responsible for text message charges incurred or data usage on smart phones if the app is used.*
Suspect A enters a business. His/her actions heighten business owner’s suspicions. Suspect A exits store without necessarily committing a criminal act. Business owner feels that this particular action does not necessarily warrant calling police directly. Business owner would be able to text "Group Me” contact. Information is immediately fanned out to other businesses, thus giving them forewarning of potential negative activity.
An example of text could read:
Male, white, 40-50 yrs, heavy set, short graying hair wearing white t-shirt and jeans just left (name of business or general area) appeared to want to steal but did not. Male walked west on Princess St.
This information is immediately fanned out to all businesses on contact list as well as to beat officers who may be in the downtown core.
Important: This program does not replace requirement to calling police.
Business owners are required to call police directly for emergency or matters that requiring investigation. That being said, once police are contacted first, you are free to disseminate the information to other registered business members through the text message. The value of this program is that while the police may be informed about a suspicious person other persons and businesses are not, and could potentially be victimized before the suspect is located and identified. This will spread the word quickly to all those in the downtown core who sign-up for the program, hopefully preventing further occurrences in other stores and assisting police in locating the individual if seen in another business.
How do I get my business involved?
The Kingston Police Community Services branch will administrate this crime prevention program. Your information will be entered on "Group Me” file. To ensure effectiveness of the program we will conduct periodic reviews and may request feedback from participants.
As this program is voluntary, removal of contact information from list will be accommodated upon request in writing. Please be aware that inappropriate use of this program could result in removal from the program. Other businesses will not be given your contact information. It will only be held by Police. The advantage of this program is that the unique cellular number will be the only data shared by all involved.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
To register online for Group Me, please click here.