Florida bars to use text messaging to improve safety

Bars and dining establishments in Melbourne, Florida, have come together to improve the safety of their patrons with text messaging. 

Florida Today reports that Clint Hill, a community liaison for the Space Coast Tech Council, helped the Downtown Melbourne Hospitality Association implements a new bulk SMS service to help provide all the businesses in the area with real-time communication concerning unruly customers.

In speaking with the new outlet, Hill said that the universality of text messaging is what attracted the association to the platform. 

"The cool thing about these SMS alerts is that it doesn't matter if you've got a smartphone or a flip phone. You can receive the messages no matter what," he said. 

The need for a notification system arose late last year when fights in downtown Melbourne resulted in a serious injury and a death. After the incident, the association began meeting regularly to address nightlife safety, with emergency SMS services emerging as the best response. 

The service will allow bar and restaurant managers in Melbourne to send out emergency text alerts if they notice a potentially dangerous customer or situation. Local police will also be a part of the system, allowing them to respond to potentially violent incidents quicker than usual. 

The system went through a two-week testing process and was rolled out shortly thereafter. Hill's goal is for the alert program to eventually encompass all of Brevard County. 

"It's a program that's meant to prevent crime as opposed to just responding to crime," said Hill.

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