More than 800 people sign up for Raleigh's new text alert system

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Registration only opened Monday and the community is responding to a new pilot program. The City of Raleigh, in partnership with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, has launched a new text alert system.

More than 820 people have signed up.

Many of them were part of a push to set up an alert system in a wake of certain incidents, including violent protests.

There have been many peaceful protests in the Capital City during the past year. Demonstrators have come together calling for social justice and to honor lives that have been lost.

But there has also been violence, destruction and chaos in the streets.

Demonstrations last May took a turn for the worse. Businesses were looted, fires were started and buildings were vandalized.

Some business owners felt as if they were hung out to dry and kept in the dark. City leaders were sharply criticized.

Those events prompted a text alert system to keep people in the loop if something major happens in downtown Raleigh.

"It's a step really to rebuild communication and trust," Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said of the pilot program, which will run three months. "Every demonstration is not going to be alert-worthy. We have demonstrations every day in our downtown. We also have many at the legislature and what-not. This is again something that's high level."

Baldwin said she hopes a planned demonstration for Friday evening doesn't reach that level.

"Quite frankly, I don't think there is any better way to honor George Floyd's memory and the change he has made in our country than peaceful protests," Baldwin said. "You can have your voices heard, but please don't put graffiti up. Please don't throw eggs at journalists. Please don't do something of the things we saw last Sunday. That will lead to arrests."

The alert system is not exclusive for downtown businesses. People who live or work downtown can also receive notifications.
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