Preventing Crime in 2013: How to Get More Tips With Email

By John Simpson, Engagement Consultant at GovDelivery

Preventing crime is one of the number one goals for public safety organizations. In 2013, we are seeing a shift in public safety groups, many of whom are leveraging the power of local citizens and stakeholders to report criminal activity. This type of interaction helps identify trends and prevent future crimes. Behind this shift is a simple but powerful tool that is driving this engagement: email.

The Sheriff’s Office of Stearns County, MN was looking for new ways to engage and educate the public on information sharing practices that could help prevent and solve crimes. Beyond using new technologies, the Sheriff wanted to be sure they offered clear and easy ways for the public to connect with his Office and interact with employees to help them better serve their constituents.

One of the main crime prevention resources that the Sheriff’s Office wanted to expand on was promoting the submission of urgent and non-urgent tips from the public. An evaluation of the tip submission process found it to be confusing, complicated, and unintuitive.

Stearns County Sheriff's OfficeTo simplify the process and ensure public exposure, Stearns County partnered with GovDelivery to design a new Advanced Bulletin Template for the Sheriff’s Office regular public updates. Embedded within the template, are prominent buttons depicting the different tip submission channels: Phone, Email, or Web. Whether using a computer or a mobile device, clicking on each of the respective buttons now redirects the subscriber to the Sheriff’s Office phone number, email address, or an online tip submission tool.

By regularly featuring an intuitive method for tip submission, the Sheriff’s Office now offers a new opportunity for the public to communicate with county officers through every public bulletin. Just thirteen minutes after sending their inaugural message with the new Advanced Bulletin Template, the Sheriff’s office received a tip from a subscriber. A simple format with a clear, engaging call to action has allowed for the Sheriff’s Office to better encourage crime prevention, empower the public to report information to their office, and ultimately decrease the amount of crime in Stearns County.

While the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office serves as a great example of creating an intuitive solution for public engagement, no two projects are the same. If your organization is looking for better ways to engage the public, contact:

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