Despite serving as an important line of communication during violent incidents or big snow events, like last week’s “bomb cyclone,” most of the city’s households are not signed up for the Cambridge Alert Network.

The Cambridge Alert Network is a system of various services including Citizen Observer (tip411), NextDoor and CodeRED. The network sends residents — through text, email or phone — crucial notifications relating to weather, crime, safety, and any other emergency situations.

Citizen Observer (tip411)

As a subscription-based service, Citizen Observer (tip411), a branch of the Alert Network, allows residents to sign up for citywide information on crime for each of the 13 neighborhoods in Cambridge. According to Jeremy Warnick, Cambridge Police Department’s director of communications and media relations, these notifications reach approximately 22,000 subscribers citywide: less than 20 percent of the city’s population.

″[Citizen Observer] is really helpful, particularly with an ongoing criminal manner in which we will provide updates,” Warnick said. “The other component of it is that it also allows us to receive anonymous tips. [The tips] are encrypted so we have no idea who’s on the other side sending those in. It’s a trustworthy way of people submitting information that may help us with an investigation.”

Warnick said the department usually receives multiple crime tips a week through Citizen Observer, and that they often “come in waves.”

Read the full story from the Cambridge Chronicle

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