Feeds

Charities turn to text to tackle gangs

SMS 4 lyfe

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Two organisations in Southwark are launching an SMS service designed to help people in gangs or those affected by gang crime.

Launched in response to community concerns about gang crime and violence, the Gangs Advice Training and Exit Strategy (GATES) project will provide two free services, a text alert service and a telephone advice line.

A joint initiative between Victim Support Southwark and youth agency Kickstart, the scheme will kick off in earnest over the first weekend of August 2007 after a soft launch at the end of July.

Pat Green, borough director at Victim Support Southwark told GC News on 2 August 2007: "The text service aims to inform young people about events that are going on in the community, while the advice line gives people information about youth services available in the borough."

Subscribers will receive two free texts a week, which could be in the form of an alert, a poll, or a competition. Examples of alerts might include:

  • Kickstart Youth Inclusion programme is providing free sports training for young people aged 16-24. Call...
  • After the recent shooting a community meeting will be held at...

Meanwhile, surveys might include questions such as: "If you owned a gun and Southwark ran a gun amnesty would you deposit your gun?" and "Do you feel safe in Southwark?"

According to Green, the polls facility will also help agencies gauge what the "temperature" is like among young people in terms of these issues, while also making the service a two-way communication tool.

Running alongside the text service, a free advice line will provide information and guidance to people who are concerned about gang activity or who have fallen into the wrong crowd and do not how to break free. People wishing to remain anonymous can do so, as the services do not require users to give their name or address.

Abi Goodwin of Kickstart said: "The GATES service will not only provide advice on leaving a gang and crime prevention, it will also highlight free sports and social programmes that young people can get involved with.

"However, the GATES services are designed to help the whole community, from young people in gangs to all those affected by gang crime, including family members, local residents, teachers and community leaders."

Anita Reid, serious and violent crime caseworker at Victim Support Southwark, added: "Recent events in London have caused a growing concern about gang crime in the local community. The text alert service will allow them to receive and retain information that can help them avoid and escape gang crime."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.