People with information about a crime or suspicious activity in Rosemount have a new way to get in touch with the police department. In early November, the department launched a new anonymous crime tip line for residents.

Residents with information about illegal activity have the option of sending an anonymous written tip by clicking a link on the city's website, or calling the tip line and leaving a voice message. For all in-progress activity, the police department still encourages residents to dial 911.

Alex Eckstein, a detective with the Rosemount Police Department, said the anonymous reporting system gives residents one more way to communicate with the police department regarding nonemergencies.

"Some people might not think they need to call 911 for things like that," he said. "They might feel like they are going to bother us. Some people might be nervous about calling 911. We wanted to provide another option."

Eckstein said the web form appeals to younger generations, who often prefer using computers over talking on the phone. Another benefit to the written form is that it provides a way for people who don't have access to a phone to communicate that they need help, he said. And sometimes, people just wish to remain anonymous.

"It's a place where people can reach out to the police where they might be afraid to have their name involved. It's a different form of communication with the police department, rather than calling dispatch," Eckstein said.

Eckstein said detectives have already received several tips on thefts and complaints about narcotics via the new reporting system. They have even solved a crime based on an anonymous tip they received.

Eckstein encourages anyone using the new online reporting system to be as descriptive as possible and provide as much information as they can.

"If we don't have enough information to go on, there's not really much we can do," he said.

When a resident leaves a phone message or fills out the web form, the information is passed along to the police department's detectives and sergeants, who will then assign the case and start investigating.

Though the reporting system is completely anonymous, residents do have the option of leaving their contact information so an officer can follow up with them if necessary. Residents should continue to dial 911 for in-progress criminal activity or when immediate assistance is required.

"It's just another way for people to reach out to us," Eckstein said.

People who wish to report criminal activity anonymously can call 651-322-COPS and leave a message, or fill out the web form at bit.ly/2gHXTR2