By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It doesn’t matter if its late night, early morning or during business hours — violent crime is invading Minneapolis neighborhoods at an alarming rate.

“We need the community’s help to solve these serious crimes that are taking place,” said Minneapolis Police Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher.

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Minneapolis police are reminding people how they can help, anonymously, by using their cellphone as a crime-fighting tool.

If you have information about a crime, you can either text 847411 or download MPD Tip on your smartphone to leave an anonymous tip for police.

“They all get triaged here, so we look at every single tip that comes in and we decide who would be best to handle the follow up on this,” Lt. Jeff Rugel said.

He says the system is set up so officers have no idea who is calling.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“What Tips 411, what that company does is anonymize it and sends it to us in a group email that we all get here,” Rugel said. “So we’re then able to go into our web browser and look at the contents of the tip.”

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Cmdr. Gerlicher says they have already had 3,000 tips come in via the system.

“On any given day, we might get anywhere from five to 10 tips per day,” Gerlicher said.

Callers have helped solve theft, burglary and narcotics cases. And police now hope people will turn to Tip 411 to help them get murderers off the streets.

“Those shootings, those homicides that’s where typically people seem to be more reluctant to come forward with information,” Gerlicher said. “So here’s a way they can come forward completely anonymously.”

Tip 411 is not meant to replace 911. If you need officers immediately or there is a crime in progress, call 911.

Although text messages cannot be traced, there is two-way interaction with police.

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Police can send a message back through the server to ask a question, and you can respond but still be anonymous.

Reg Chapman