DENVER (KKTV) - Safe2Tell Colorado received a record number of tips last school year, according to its annual report released in early November.
Approximately 19,861 "actionable" tips -- tips that weren't duplicates, pranks, hangups, or sent as a test -- were received between Aug. 1, 2018 and July 31, 2019, a 28 percent increase from the year before.
"We see it as a great indicator that students and our community members feel comfortable with breaking the code of silence and speaking up about concerns that they may have within their communities," said Safe2Tell Program Director Essi Ellis.
11 News reached out to local school districts for Safe2Tell data. Most school districts -- like D-3, D-8, D-38 and D-49 -- said they've gotten more tips each school year. According to data, Safe2Tell tips in D-20 went down slightly from the 2017-2018 school year to 2018-2019.
Safe2Tell was established in September 2004 to give students a way to anonymously report on matters concerning them at school.
The Colorado Attorney General's Office says suicide threats (3,668), drugs (2,164) and bullying (1,871) were the top reporting categories across the state.
Of the tips received last school year, 541 (2.4 percent) were false.
"We really want students to know that they should be using this system to report valid concerns that they have for their own safety and the safety of others. We take every tip very seriously," Ellis said. "Really, it taxes the resources of the school and law enforcement, and those resources could be used for much more effective and efficient processes throughout the schools and in their communities. So we really want to make sure that schools and law enforcement are responding to valid tips through the Safe2Tell program."
Safe2Tell has continued to see a high volume of tips in this young school year. 11 News reported in September that there was a 75 percent increase in tip volume in August when compared to the same month in 2018. In October, Safe2Tell said the program received 2,622 tips, which was a 15 percent increase compared to October 2018.
The Attorney General's Office gave three examples from August showcasing how a Safe2Tell tip has resulted in action:
- A report was received regarding a possible suicidal individual. Law enforcement conducted a welfare check, and a safety plan was enacted.
- A report was received involving possession of an illegal substance. Law enforcement investigated, and a minor was cited.
- A tip was received involving unsafe driving. Police determined the location of incident was not near a school, and the vehicle did not contain any minors.
11 News has done a number of stories over the years where a tip has yielded an investigation, and in some cases, an arrest. Some of those stories can be viewed here.
Most recently, an alleged threat at Palmer High School prompted extra security. D-11 said there were several Safe2Tell tips reported concerning the threat. The district said it determined the threat was not credible.