tip411 Provides Confidential Messaging Platforms for Domestic & Sexual Violence Services

tip411 is providing confidential 24/7 messaging platforms (text messaging, mobile apps and web forms) for Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. Options needed new ways to connect with survivors to provide them the critical support they need to escape domestic violence beyond making a telephone call.

Those in need of help are now able to speak with one of Options trained advocates by downloading their My Mobile Options smartphone app, by texting “HOPE” to 847411, or via their online chat powered by tip411 on their website at www.help4abuse.org.

If you’d like to learn more about how tip411 can help your organization provide alternative communication channels to domestic abuse survivors please contact us today at 1.888.952.2200 or info@tip411.com

Port Huron Police Department Launches New App for Anonymous Tips

The Port Huron Police Department in Michigan recently launched tip411 as a replacement for their previous Tipsoft system after noting in their Annual Report that citizen online reported dropped significantly over the last few years.

When asked about how the implementation of their new tip411 anonymous tip system has been going, Port Huron PD Captain Marcy Kuehn had this to say:

“A thousand percent improvement over the system we did have… We probably get about a tip a day and just had someone send us video of an armed robbery that helped us solve it.” 

Interested in learning more about tip411 and how it can help your department engage the public to help fight crime? Email info@tip411.com to get in touch today. 

Read the story below about Port Huron’s launch from WGRT:

The Port Huron Police Department launched a new app available for free on the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the Port Huron Police Department’s website at www.porthuronpolice.org and clicking on the CAPTURE symbol.

“The Port Huron Police Department responds to community needs through a combined strategy of preventative, proactive and reactive policing programs, said Chief Joseph Platzer. “This is a combined effort – not just with our officers, but with our residents as a whole, and I believe our new Port Huron PD app will help us work even more closely with the public to keep our community safe.” The new Port Huron PD app enables the public to share an anonymous tip with police and lets officers respond back to create an anonymous two-way conversation.

“We’ve listened to feedback from partners like Port Huron Police and have built a more advanced and innovative product to help departments better engage their communities,” said tip411 President Terry Halsch. “The Port Huron PD app powered by tip411 will greatly improve the public’s access to help fight crime.” The Port Huron PD app and tip411 anonymous text a tip system are 100% anonymous, as the technology removes all identifying information before police see the tips and there is no way to identify the sender.

Residents in Port Huron without a smartphone will still be able to share information with police by sending an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to police by texting keyword CAPTURE and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411). Anonymous web tips can also be submitted through the department’s website at www.porthuronpolice.org and clicking on the CAPTURE symbol.

Covington Police Department Announces New Crime Fighting App

The Covington Police Department is increasing its crime-fighting arsenal with a new app to help residents connect with the department to find information, view alerts, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphone.

Developed by tip411, the Covington PD app puts a powerful new crime-fighting tool into the hands of community members of all ages. The Covington PD app is available for download for free via the Google Play Store, and the iTunes App Store. “Police services are not limited to 911 emergencies.

In addition to providing for the public safety, the Covington Police Department works proactively in our community to prevent crime,” said Covington Police Chief Stephen Culotta. “We believe the new Covington PD app from tip411 will help greatly enhance our ability to fight crime by engaging our community.”

The new Covington PD app enables the public to share an anonymous tip with police and lets officers respond back to create an anonymous two-way conversation. Citizens can submit videos and photographs with their tips.

“We’ve listened to feedback from partners like Covington Police and have built a more advanced and innovative product to help departments better engage their communities,” said tip411 President Terry Halsch. “The Covington PD app powered by tip411 will greatly improve the public’s access to agency alerts, social media channels, important information, and more to help fight crime.”

The Covington PD app and tip411 anonymous text a tip system are 100% anonymous, as the technology removes all identifying information before police see the tips and there is no way to identify the sender.

Residents in Covington without a smartphone will still be able to share information with police by sending an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to police by texting keyword CPDLA and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411).

Halloween Safety Tips

Poughkeepsie PD Shares Halloween Tips for Parents

In advance of Halloween, the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department in New York used their tip411 alerting capability to send an email and text message directly to residents with Halloween Safety Tips for Parents:

Halloween Tips for Parents

Thursday, Oct. 31, is Halloween! Here are some safety tips for parents:

  • Make sure costumes fit well and that they are short enough to prevent tripping.
  • Consider using hypoallergenic make-up instead of masks, which can obstruct your child’s vision.
  • Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Make certain costumes are flame-retardant.
  • Trick-or-treaters should have a flashlight with fresh batteries.
  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children; older kids should trick-or-treat in groups.
  • Set a time when your children should be home and know what route they plan to take.
  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars. Children should not approach homes where the front lights are not turned on.
  • Remind your children to stay on the sidewalk and not cut across yards or through alleys; remind them to cross streets only at corners and never from between parked cars.
  • Do not allow your children to consume their treats until they have checked by an adult at home. Throw away any unwrapped or spoiled items. Give any candy that could be a choking hazard (such as hard candies) to older children.

See the alert from Poughkeepsie PD

Lynn Police Massachusetts

“We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department.”

tip411 interviewed Captain Mark O’Toole of the Lynn, Massachusetts Police Department.

Q: Tell us about Lynn and your department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The City of Lynn is the ninth largest city in Massachusetts with a population of approximately 93,000 but likely another 10,000 undocumented persons. We are 10.4 square miles and have been accumulating “city problems” over the years. We’re one city away from Boston but have a lot of the same issues they do, just on a smaller level. Our department has shrunk from almost 200 sworn down to about 165. Crime is going down in terms of the index numbers, but the calls for service have not decreased. We run the gambit on all crimes including robbery, car breaks, larceny, and housebreaks.

Q: Why did you decide to bring tip411 to Lynn?
A:
Over the years we’ve seen a mindset among the population of not wanting to get involved and not wanting to cooperate. We found tip411 to be a conduit to get information while allowing people to remain anonymous. As technology gets better, more and more people in our community communicate via text. We wanted to tap into that rather than making people pick up a phone and call. The custom app tip411 built for us is making a huge difference in getting tips as well.

Q: Anything you would tell other agencies considering tip411?
A: We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department. It gets us into the younger, tech savvy generation. Once they send us a tip, it’s out there, and they can’t take it back.  The two-way communication is great because we can ask questions and many people respond back with more information so we can deploy our resources. Tip411 has been a huge help to our people. Unlike our anonymous phone tip line where we can’t ask that next question to get more information, we can and do with tip411. Almost everyone has a cell phone, they can take pictures and send things to you and they do, and it’s instant. If you can get them to tip you on some stuff, you can get them to tip you on bigger, more important stuff, too. tip411 has been a great investment for us in terms of gaining information and communicating with our public. If you’re not on it, you’re missing out on the opportunity for some really great information to help solve crimes.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
On March 21stwe got a tip about a Level 3 Sex Offender that was living in our community near an elementary school. The subject was confirmed as unregistered in our city as required, more investigation was done and charges were filed for failure to register. This is the type of thing we want to know, and we were able to take action as a result of the tip. We have a wide variety of crimes, and when our PIO sends something out to the newspapers, on Twitter, and on Facebook, we always put the tip411 information on it. We include video stills when we can, and we get a fair amount of tips that lead us to who the person or persons are.

Q: Any success working with other jurisdictions through tip411?
A:
We received a tip not long ago about a guy wanted on a sexual assault crime. The tipster told us he was living at an address in Pensacola, Florida, and we reached out to Pensacola PD and they were able to apprehend the guy.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
Tips come in to the patrol division and the commanding officer is responsible for monitoring them. There are several other people in the department, including myself, who have access to the tips and can monitor them on their phone in case it’s something that needs immediate action. For example, we’ve had complaints of children possibly being neglected and it comes through and patrol has gone right out and done checks on the addresses and acted swiftly when required.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in Lynn to make your residents aware of it?
A:
We promote tip411 through our website, with community groups, and include the tip411 information on anything we’re asking for the public’s assistance on.  We have business cards with our tip411 information on them as well that we hand out to community members.We have some vice situations that I’m concerned could turn violent, so I’m working on a campaign to reach out to that at-risk community specifically with information about tip411 and how they can share information with us to protect their and others’ safety anonymously without having to identify themselves.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your department is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
I just looked at the numbers and since we began partnering with tip411 in 2014, we’ve gotten over 3,000 tips. We love the feature of the two-way communication and people being allowed to include photo/video tips. The vast majority we receive are about narcotics activity, and I’ll frequently respond back to the tipster asking for more information. We do get information back that has resulted in very successful investigations. These types of successful investigations can be directly attributed to the tip411 service.

Q: What types of tips/situations have you seen tip411 be most useful for in Lynn?
A: A good thing about the texts is that they can’t take it back. Sometimes people reach out with information in the heat of the moment while they’re angry or upset, and we have that information in digital form. tip411 is definitely useful for narcotics and for vice crimes as well.

Groesbeck Police Cruiser

Interview: Groesbeck, Texas Police

tip411 interviewed Chief Chris Henson of the Groesbeck Police Department about his and his department’s experience with our system.

Q: Tell us about your community and your agency (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A: Groesbeck is a small community in rural Central Texas. Our population is approximately 4,500 and we have a sworn staff of 10 officers. We are located in Limestone County which has a total population of approximately 25,000.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A: We originally subscribed to another free service and looked at upgrading to gain more features and benefits. The cost was relatively high for a department our size so I started researching other programs that were more cost-effective and provided additional services. I found tip411 and researched it for several weeks before making the initial inquiry.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A: tip411 is a great program and will be as successful as you allow it to be. While cost is definitely a factor for an agency our size, it is well worth the money for the customized app and the benefits the program provides. If you’re going to invest in the program, I strongly recommend using it to its full potential.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A: We are a relatively low-crime city so we don’t typically have the high profile offenses that our larger counterparts deal with. A large number of our tips concern drug information, routine complaints, and school-related issues. We’ve made several significant narcotic cases with the help of information provided to us through tip411.

We have also partnered with the local school district so the students have the ability to report threats of violence, bullying, or any other offense that occurs at school. When those tips are received, they are immediately forwarded to the campus principal for response unless the complaint requires an immediate police action. We received one tip last year that concerned a threat of potential violence at the local high school. The threat was received on a social media platform by one of the students, and someone from within the school was aware of the threat and immediately forwarded it to tip411. We were able to work with the administration to place the school in a lock-down mode until we could confirm the threat. The investigation led to the suspect who was in another county and not an imminent threat to the school. That tip alone made the program worth every dollar.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A: Since we are a small department, I’m able to process the tips that come in. I have a detective assigned to an administrator role as well but I primarily handle the intake and dissemination of tip information.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A: Since we are a small city, citizens find it difficult to come forward and provide information for fear of being identified by other members of the public. tip411 has given them an avenue to provide information to us without revealing their identity. It has also given our youth the ability to have school-related issues addressed without the stigma of reporting to the principal’s office.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A: We promote the program as often as possible. We typically post our tip411 community alerts to our Facebook page so the reference to tip411 is always made. We’ve done multiple newspaper articles about the program as well as community events and school training on its use.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A: I’ve noticed the number of tips increase the more comfortable people get with the level of anonymity. Again, we are a relatively low-crime city so most of our tips revolve around narcotics use or routine, every day complaints. We have some tipsters who use the program instead of going through the dispatch center for normal complaints. That was not our intended purpose, but I don’t want to discourage anyone from using the program so we take any information that is provided to us and handle it accordingly.

Q: What types of tips/situations have you seen tip411 be most useful for your community?
A: It has proven most useful in combatting narcotics within our city and addressing issues within our school district.

Crime Solvers Tip411

Fairfax County Crime Solvers Partners with tip411

Fairfax County Crime Solvers has partnered with tip411 to introduce a new and innovative crime-fighting tool.

Through a partnership with tip411, information can now be shared anonymously with police via a free smartphone app, text message, or a web tip form.

Fairfax County Crime Solvers encourages anyone with a smartphone to download their free Fairfax Co Crime Solvers app for iPhone/Android or to text anonymous tips to 847411 using keyword FCCS.

Residents should submit tips about crimes, drugs, bullying, threats, suspicious activity, and more to help police protect students and community members of all ages.

Issues requiring immediate public safety attention should always be reported directly police by calling 9-1-1.

More information about Fairfax County Crime Solvers can be found at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org

Ascension Parish Sheriff Cruiser

“If you use it correctly…it will work for your agency and community.”

tip411 interviewed Public Information Officer Allison Hudson of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A: It’s been a great tool for residents to have another way to submit tips and our’s is used a lot. With tip411, if they want to reach us anonymously, they can. We’ve done several programs through tip411, like a few years ago when we were having a string of pharmacy break-ins, we met with them and signed them up on tip411 to share information. Another way is we’ve used tip411 in our school system for bullying.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A: We had a homicide in 2014 that was a 16 year old kid who went missing and we received a tip from someone who noticed some similarities with a known person. Long story short he provided information to help us solve the crime and he and others were arrested in conjunction with the homicide.

Q: Tell us about your community, agency, and how you heard about tip411?
A: We have about 120,000 people in the parish, with 350 employees at the Sheriff’s Office.We heard about tip411, did a free demo, and we signed up from there.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:  I monitor all of the tips and the 24/7 dispatch center monitors them outside of normal business hours. All of our lieutenants and captains have access to these tips as well. If we’re working a homicide, a detective will be assigned to checking those tips real-time. Every division head has access and are responsible for checking and responding to tips and they send me an email to let me know if a tip can be closed out or not. I keep a list of how many cases are solved based on tips that are received. We also have a School Security Division and the lieutenant checks those tips and will send it to the officers stationed in schools if tips pertain to their school.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A: Related to use in schools for bullying, we made it so every computer’s first screen when students login is about reporting a tip using tip411. It has the number and instructions on how to do it. We’ve also done billboards, advertising in the newspaper, digital ads, etc. for people to submit a tip. We also use and have success with CrimeStoppers and we have a card we give out to residents at community police events, during violent crimes, or anything that we might be looking for related to crime in neighborhoods, and one side has the tip411 information and the other side has CrimeStoppers. It definitely has worked. We also share information on our social media channels and in every press release I send out about a crime, I put information about how to submit tips through tip411.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A: We get two types of tips – narcotics tips and bullying tips. Narcotics tips are pretty steady, but when I put out warrant alerts in the newspaper, we see a jump. I see about a 98% rate for tips when I put out information about Narcotics warrants. Bullying tips pickup at the beginning of school, over breaks, and at the end of the year.

Q: Can you tell me more about your success with tip411 in schools?
A: We’ve had several tips where students share information about threats and our crisis response team goes to the schools and arrests are made. We get screenshots of Snapchats, Instagram messages/posts, things we would never find without tip411. School administrators and staff see it as useful and teachers have used tip411 to share information as well. We talk to the student body about how to use it at assemblies, what it’s used for, not to use it incorrectly and what the consequences are. We have cards specifically made for students to explain to them, in a simple way, how to use tip411.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A: I think it’s a good tool to use. We found that people really do just want to submit information and remain anonymous. If you use it correctly – if you go through the webinars, and the trainings, and actually get officers and businesses involved, get residents signed up – it will work for your agency and community.

“We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.”

tip411 interviewed Public Information Officer Alexandra Ovington of the Arlington Heights, Illinois Police Department.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A:
tip411 has aided our agency by allowing citizens’ voices to be heard anonymously. As police officers, we routinely hear from citizens that they are afraid to call 911. Many citizens believe they can be charged with filing a false police report if what they reported was incorrect or inaccurate. While this line of thinking is a misconception, it still creates an issue of suspicious or criminal activity being underreported in our community. tip411 creates a platform for these citizens to report incidents to police without the fear of misreporting. This allows our agency to be aware of crime or suspicious activity that would otherwise not be reported.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Our last arrest credited to tip411 is a case involving a stolen vehicle. In that case, a food delivery driver responded to a local hotel for a delivery, and while the driver was inside the hotel making the delivery, a female suspect stole his vehicle, which was left running in the parking lot. A tip was received via tip411 identifying the female offender, and that identification led to an arrest. The male that provided the tip received a cash reward courtesy of Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers.

Q: Tell us about your community and your agency (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The Village of Arlington Heights is located in Cook County, Illinois. The Village is approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The population of Arlington Heights is estimated at 75,249. Arlington Heights Police Department has 107 Sworn Police Officers. Arlington Heights is best known for the Arlington Park Race Track, home of the Arlington Million; a Breeders Cup qualifying event.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
We heard about tip411 via the internet. We officially signed up in 2008 and have been using it ever since.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
 As the Public Information Officer (PIO), I am authorized to post on all social media platforms. Myself and my partner, the Problem Oriented Policing Coordinator (POP), facilitate the majority of posts through tip411. The PIO and POP post media releases, crime alerts, crime maps, event alerts, citizen/community alerts, and updates. In the event of a critical incident or media release for immediate distribution when neither the PIO or POP are available, supervisors are authorized to post on social media platforms through tip411. Any tips that are received are responded to by the PIO and POP and are subsequently assigned to the appropriate bureau.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A:
It is a benefit for the Police Department to reach as many citizens as possible via tip411, as the more eyes and ears we have in the community, the safer our community becomes. In addition to cross-posting all posts made through tip411 to Facebook and Twitter, we also provide citizens with how-to instructions for signing up for and using tip411. We offer these instructions in handouts that we distribute at all community events including Police Department Open Houses and safety presentations. We also utilize tip411 in partnership with Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers whom, through their contributions, offer up to $1,000 for tips that successfully lead to arrests.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
While the frequency of tips we receive vary from month to month, we do not quantify our success with tip411 based on an increase in the cases we are solving because of tips we receive. We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A:
Do not be afraid to provide case information to your community via tip411. Any information you can disseminate to the public for specific cases will only help to increase the amount of tips you receive in return. A strong Social Media presence leads to a strong Social Media following. Increase your eyes and ears and you will be surprised at your community’s willingness to help the police solve cases.