Contrary to the opinions of some, teens often want to do the right thing when it comes to reporting crime and keeping their neighborhoods safe.
The problem comes when doing so... can threaten their reputation, or personal safety.
"One of their greatest fears is speaking up at school and saying'I know Johnny brought a gun to school today, it's in his locker,' because they're afraid of what might happen," said Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan.
Helping to ease those fears, and open the lines of communication is the goal of a new city-wide tip line, which will allow teens to report crimes or acts of violence while remaining anonymous.
This morning Dolan, City Councilman Don Samuels, and a handful of officers stood at the entrance to Southwest High School, handing stickers and literature about the 'Speak Up' program to students as they started the day. That number, 1-866-SPEAK UP, will allow those students to text or call reports in to a specially trained crisis counselor, who will process the information and call Minneapolis Police if it's warranted. Those calls and texts will be answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
"This is an avenue for them to express their concern, to keep their own neighborhood safe," explained Southwest Principal Bill Smith, "and at the same time protect their own identity and their own safety."
The SPEAK UP program has been successful in major cities like Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco.
(Copyright 2009 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)