Every day, people travel across state lines in cars, buses, airplanes or trains. The Amtrak system sees thousands of people per day because it offers service in 46 states. As a way to improve communication between Amtrak conductors and officers, the railway implemented a nationwide text messaging service to report suspicious behavior.
When the text messaging tip line was in its early stages, the program was meant to tailor to Amtrak's hearing impaired riders. However, rail officers realized that there was great potential to reach many people who prefer to text over sending a phone call, so Amtrak decided that they had to go through this plan, according to the Washington Post.
"From crime to terrorism, we think this is a pretty effective tool," Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson told the source. "If there is some reason you don't feel comfortable calling, you can discretely text."
How does the system work? When a person contacts Amtrak they will receive an automated message to confirm that their report was sent. Then the sender will receive second text message from a live Amtrak dispatcher.
Passengers can report anything like an unattended bag, disorderly conduct or suspicious behavior. Having an extra set of eyes can help Amtrak workers get to the bottom of alleged activity early on. Despite the new short code phone number, Amtrak will still keep the existing 1-800 tip line for those who prefer this method of communication.
Communities that wish to roll out their own anonymous text messaging tip line may do so with the support of Swift SMS Gateway. We have the tools to create a platform that meets your city or town's needs.