The Minneapolis Police Department has created two new ways for people to send in tips and have conversations with crime investigators while remaining anonymous, one through a smartphone app and the other via texting, the department announced.

The "MPD tip" smartphone app works for both Android and iPhone. It's free and available now.

There's also a new way to text anonymous tips to the department. To use it, type "MPD," a space, and then the tip. Send it to 847 411 (Tip 411).

In both systems, investigators can respond to tipsters and carry on a conversation.The new methods of communication do not collect a user's phone number, IP address or email address. Each tip gets assigned a six-digit number which the department uses to manage the information.

The new service does not replace 911 or 311. In an emergency, use 911. To report liveability issues or access city departments, call 311.

The department still collects anonymous tips via the department website, and the MPD Facebook page under "submit a tip.