Barrera announces new ‘tip411’ smartphone app for anonymous messages to sheriff’s office

The Highland County Sheriff’s Office now allows the public to share important public safety information anonymously with law enforcement by sending them a secure text message about crimes or suspicious activity in Highland County via a free smartphone app.

The Highland County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that it is launching “tip411,” an internet-based tool from Citizen Observer that enables the public to text message an anonymous tip to law enforcement and lets the officers respond back, creating an anonymous two-way conversation. The app can be downloaded for free via the Google Play store and iTunes App Store. Enter Highland County Sheriff in the search bar.

In addition, anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to the Highland County Sheriff’s office by texting HCSHERIFF and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411). Anonymous web tips can be submitted right from the sheriff’s office website at http://www.highlandcoso.com.

The Text Tips App and tip411 anonymous text-a-tip system are 100 percent anonymous, as the technology removes all identifying information before law enforcement officers see the tips and there is no way to identify the sender.

“We believe the public is our greatest law enforcement resource,” said sheriff Donnie Barrera, adding that “tip411 allows a safe and secure way for community members to share important information with law enforcement without the fear of retribution.”

Read more from The Times-Gazette

Smartphone app helps fight crime in Crow Wing County

Smartphone apps have uses ranging from checking the weather to watching movies to reading about the latest breaking news, and everything in between. Now Crow Wing County residents can download an app that lets them send crime tips to the sheriff’s department and communicate with local law enforcement from anywhere while remaining anonymous.

Tip411 is a program that has been gaining popularity in the lakes area over the last eight months. After downloading the CWCS Mobile app on an iPhone or Android device, users can simply submit anonymous tips relating to any criminal or suspicious activity directly to the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

And that’s not all.

“The cool thing with this feature is people can still remain anonymous if they wish, but we’re allowed to communicate back with them. So that’s where we can add the additional questions,” said Capt. Scott Goddard, of the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office.

The app allows the investigator receiving the tips to respond to the tipster and ask follow-up questions.

“They’ll text us in something very vague, like, ‘Vehicles coming or going late at night from a residence,'” Goddard said. “And then our follow-up questions might be, ‘Well, can you give us descriptions of the vehicle?’ or ‘What times are the vehicles coming and going?'”

Read the full story from the Pineandlakes Echo Journal

Text through Cheektowaga’s tip411 results in two drug arrests

Two people were arrested on multiple drug charges Wednesday night after police received an anonymous tip through the department’s tip411 texting service.

The anonymous text was sent to the department around 7 p.m. saying that a car was parked on Oakwood Drive in the town’s South Line district and several people were smoking drugs.

“Officers Chris Wierzbowski and Mike Menth responded and found two people in the car and then discovered a baggie with crack cocaine at the feet of the occupants.  Further investigation led to the discovery of multiple envelopes of heroin, a crack pipe, and several hypodermic needles,” said James Speyer, Assistant Chief of Police.

Police arrested and charged Jessica Seiler, 22 of Tristan Lane, Williamsville and Dillon Butchart, 25 of Pleasant Ave, Depew with three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument.

Read the full story in the Cheektowaga Chronicle.

Interview with Delhi Township: Part III

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is the third and final part of our conversation.

PART III

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A:
We make sure our tip411 information is always posted on all of our social media sites, with links to sign up for alerts and submit tips.

In the beginning, we had business cards made up with tip411 information and officers would hand those out. Officers had them in their car and when they had an interaction with a resident, they’d hand them a card and introduce them to the tip411 program, tell them its free to use to send tips and to sign up for alerts. We still have cards but it was imperative in the beginning.

We really saw a jump with residents buying in to our tip411 efforts when local media starting putting the information on the news. That was as easy as sending out a press release and what’s nice now is they all buy-in to signing up for tip411 and, if they don’t, they know it’s pushed out through Facebook so local reporters are getting our alerts in real-time. They’ll call me right away saying they want to do a story, or sometimes now they won’t even contact me and I’ll see the alert on the news with the surveillance photos we put out. It’s great and helps us reach more residents.

Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A:
Don’t hesitate. My biggest regret is waiting two years before I pulled the trigger to purchase tip411. I felt comfortable coming on board and the rest has been icing on the cake. Now I realize it is what I thought it was.

Any time it can help another agency and talk to them about tip411, I do. It’s not like I’m trying to sell it to them, but when I find a good product for a reasonable amount that helps me do my job better, I like to share that.

My advice is for other departments just to take a look at tip411 because once they do, the product sells itself.

 

Click here to read Part I and here for Part II of our conversation with Chief Howarth.

Interview with Delhi Township: Part I

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is part one of our three-part conversation.

PART I

Q: Tell us about your community and the Delhi Township Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
Delhi Township covers 10.1 square miles and is just shy of 30,000 residents. Our department has 32 sworn officers and is open 8am-10pm each day. We are a “bedroom community” that sits on the Ohio River and borders the City of Cincinnati as well as Green Township, both of which use tip411 as well.

Being a suburb of Cincinnati, we deal with many big city crimes, just on a smaller scale. We have drug issues like most communities; we see domestic violence cases, car thefts, burglaries and robberies – Things that spill over from the city into our township. We don’t have much violent crime; averaging about one homicide every year or two.

We have an excellent relationship with the Cincinnati Police Department as well as the 47 other law enforcement agencies in Hamilton County. We rely on the Hamilton County Police Association for joint training exercises, joint SWAT Team operations, and more.

Q: How do you hear about tip411?
A:
We launched tip411 in 2011. I had been researching it for a few years before we signed on as I wanted to do my due diligence, but I first heard through the Cincinnati Police Department when I saw them using it.

When I was researching possible systems to use here in Delhi Township, what I was looking for was something that would help me get information out to residents in a timely manner, but also something that would be affordable and easy to use. This was important because I did not want to have to spend time training officers on a system they found too complicated to use as part of their daily duties.

Right away, I saw what I could do with tip411.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
I put out alerts along with my investigative lieutenant. I use it for investigations but also for news sharing (promoting/hiring new staff, road closures, etc.) and all types of crimes.

All of my investigators receive tips as they come in and manage them to share information and communicate with the tipster to try to get more information.

To make sure our residents can find how to send us tips, we have links to our tip411 reporting form on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. We also use the Crime Map provided as part of our tip411 subscription to add share crime information with the public and allow people to submit tips through the information shown on the map.

We’re very fortunate as people in Delhi Township are willing to communicate with us to help fight crime, and even more people are now as they are less afraid due to being able to share information anonymously.

 

Check back next week for part II of our conversation with Chief Howarth.

Allentown police hope new app will help cut down on crime

The Allentown Police Department is leaning on technology to help them catch criminals.

On Wednesday, city leaders unveiled a new app that’s a first in our area.

The Allentown Police Department hopes the new app will help cut down on crime and keep people safe. The app pushes out alerts about what’s happening and even lets you send anonymous tips right on your phone.

“We can send alerts to the entire city. Our captains can send out alerts to their areas,” said Allentown Police Department’s Assistant Chief Gail Struss.

Here’s how it works:

Just download the app, called “Allentown PD,” for free from the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store or the Allentown Police Department website.

Then look for crime alerts, or click tip and send information about cold cases or missing people. You can add pictures and videos too.

All tips are anonymous.

“I can respond to you but I have no idea who you are nor can I ever find out who you are because that information gets scrubbed before it ever gets to us,” Struss said.

Read the full story from WFMZ-TV and watch the report below:

Spring Crime Prevention Tips from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

The following is a community alert the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office sent to their residents using tip411 to share crime prevention tips for Spring:

“Just some friendly reminders since we just hopped into Spring. The weather is beautiful outside and there will be some spring cleaning going on inside homes as well as yard work outside in preparation for the upcoming warmer months.

  • Ensure doors and windows are locked at your home. This includes even if you are only leaving for a short period of time.
  • Ensure all of your gardening tools are secured in your garage or storage shed with adequate locking mechanisms. Don’t leave your garage open when you are working outside in the backyard out of sight of your garage. Criminals look for opportunities such as open garages.
  • Do not leave your garage door open to vent the heat out, even if it is just a few inches. Criminals can and will slide underneath. They may even use a child to slide underneath and open the door for them.
  • Always secure bicycles out of sight and in a secure location.
  • Ensure that you have a secure door between you and possible solicitors. Always keep your screen door locked and if you do answer the door, then you have a secondary barrier between. Criminals take opportunities with unsecured screen doors and make their way inside.”

View the alert to see their full list of tips.

Police department rolls out new tip alert system

The police department and Mayor Stephen Zanni are launching a new tip alert system to help improve public safety in the city.

The system, tip411, is an interactive way to keep the community connected and informed through email, text message and online public safety alerts. It will also allow the public to report crimes and other suspicious activity directly to police by sending anonymous text messages or submitting tips online or through the Methuen Police Department app.

“In a society where technology and media are so prominent in all aspects of our lives, we believe this new app will only help to increase our connection with our community members,” Chief Joseph Solomon said. “We have worked hard to notify, educate and respond to our citizens in all regards, and tip411 is another resource that helps facilitate this process.”

To use the system, residents can register to receive alerts from the police department via email or text message by signing up online. Or, they can download the Methuen Police Department app. It is through this app, developed by tip411, that residents can share anonymous tips with police and officers and respond back.

Read the full story from the Eagle Tribune

Get a Custom Agency Smartphone App!

Step up to a tip411 Pro subscription to get access to all of the great features of tip411 Bundle, plus the new tip411 Mobile app. This innovate app allows you to create a customized, branded app for Android/iPhone that allows residents to send anonymous tips, access agency alerts, social media channels, important information, and more to help fight crime. Contact us for a quick demo.

“We now have tip411 Pro and our own smartphone app that allows us to not only receive tips, but push out information specific to particular crimes, allows us to share crime mapping information, links to important agency information, as well as our social media accounts.” – Major David Dalton, Clearwater, Florida Police