Members of the public have a new way to submit anonymous tips to the Fredericksburg Police Department.

The department has launched a new smartphone app that will allow tipsters to pass on information to the police.

The public can already call police with anonymous tips, or text the department at 847-411 and then text “FPDTip” and then their tip, but this opens up a third avenue.

In all three forms, the tips are sent directly to the department’s communication center. When a person sends a tip, they’ll get a confirmation message. Photos can also be submitted.

The department has not tracked the number of anonymous tips they received, but Police Spokeswoman Sarah Kirkpatrick said several hundred come in per year. Capt. Rick Pennock said tips are essential, and appreciated.

“A lot of major crimes are solved with the public’s help,” he said.

The app was launched in city schools last year as a pilot program, Kirkpatrick said.

“The school resource officers got tips about fights, drug deals, and prevented crimes from happening because of FPD Tip,” she said.

Police say the app may appeal to some people who are reluctant to phone in tips to dispatchers because those calls are recorded. The app does not require the tipster to provide any personal information.

“If they feel safe and secure in giving us a tip through an anonymous way, it’s more help,” Pennock said.

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