Police in the 1970s urged citizens to "drop a dime" in a pay phone to report crimes anonymously. Now, in an increasing number of cities, cyber-savvy youths and other tipsters are being invited to use their thumbs--to identify criminals using text messages.

Police hope the idea helps recruit teens and 20-somethings who wouldn't normally dial a Crime Stoppers hotline to share information with authorities, while potentially making schools and other facilities safer.

"If somebody hears Johnny is going to bring a gun to school, hopefully they'll text that in," said Sgt. Brian Bernardi of the Louisville, Ky., Metro Police Department, which rolled


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