To keep the Wilmington, NC community safe and provide a convenient way to communicate with residents, the Wilmington Police Department has been adopting more technology-based platforms over the past few years, including their tip411 mobile app.
This includes the recent launch of the Mobile News/Public Information Officer (PIO) units, which are SUVs branded with QR codes for people to scan and download the Wilmington PD mobile app, developed by tip411, to submit anonymous tips. The goal of the units is to increase the visibility of PIOs at police crime scenes and encourage the community to send tips.
“We are always looking for new ways to engage the public and to increase our visibility. The SUVs allow us to be easily identified by local media outlets at crime scenes and are also a great tool to use at community events,” said Brandon Shope, communications specialist with the Wilmington Police Department.
“Our officers work daily to keep our community safe. As technology evolves, so do we,” he said. “We wanted to provide citizens with an alternative method to sending in tips anonymously.”
The text-a-tip program has evolved into the Wilmington NC PD app, which WPD launched in November 2020. The application, available for download for free on the Apple App Store and Google Play, allows users to submit tips, receive crime alerts and other community information and view WPD’s social media and online content. Residents can still submit anonymous tips via text by sending the keyword WPDNC with the tip to 847411.
Through the app, users can submit a tip using their location and attach a photo or video as well as customize alerts. Another feature of the app is that it uses technology to remove any identifying information on the sender.
“We do not see who sends us the tips; all of that information is scrubbed completely,” Shope said. “Our STING Center is able to communicate with the tipster directly in a 100% anonymous way.”
Shope said many community members have downloaded the app and it has assisted the police department with solving crimes through the years, such as larcenies, hit-and-runs and homicides.