Locals will be able to report crime by a short message to the 110 police headquarters in the near future.
According to the Shanghai Emergency Response Center, police are working with telecom companies to handle technical problems.
The short message alarm system is likely to come into use within this year, officials said.
An anonymous official revealed that research on the service started at the end of last year when local officials visited their counterparts in Suzhou and Nantong of Jiangsu Province where such a system is currently in use.
Members of the Taiwan Democratic Self-government League submitted a motion to the Shanghai Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in January, proposing to establish the 110 alarm system by cell phone short message. League members claimed in their proposal that such a system to report crime is secret, quick and safe. Messages can be sent without being detected by those doing a crime.
Through the short message platform, users input the information into their cell phones and send it to police number 110. The police headquarters will immediately receive the notice and can take action.
Feng Maolun, an official of the local Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, said the short message alarm service would greatly benefit three groups of people - mutes, migrants who can not speak Mandarin and expatriates who can only speak their mother tongue.
"The service can eliminate any language barriers," Feng said.
China Unicom Company (Shanghai) told the Oriental Morning Post yesterday that "there is no technical difficulty to realizing the short message alarm system." "I can assure that there can be a 100 percent accuracy in receiving and sending messages," a company official said.
During the Spring Festival local railway police set up a cell phone alarm system for people to report thefts and emergencies.
Passengers can use a cell phone hot line (1376-1818-110) to report crimes by short message.
Railway police were reluctant to comment on the service yesterday.
There has been no statistics available so far as to how many short message alarms had been received during the past two months, they said.
(Shanghai Daily April 6, 2005)