Police make arrest in hate graffiti with help from tip411

City police say they’ve arrested a city man in connection with a series of Neo-Nazi inspired hate graffiti incidents in the city and in neighboring Valley.

George F. Rissell, 24, was taken into custody after police received an anonymous tip via a smart phone app, combined with images from various surveillance cameras near where the incidents took place. With that information, police were able to zero in on the suspect’s vehicle and his identity.

The accused was arrested and charged with multiple counts of ethnic intimidation and criminal mischief, and arraigned before Magistrate Gill at 2140 hours. The accused was remanded to Chester County Prison in lieu of $150,000.00 cash bail.

Police said that Rissell has claimed past association with with supremacy and hate groups.

Various locations — including a car — were vandalized with hate messages and various White Supremacist/Neo-Nazi codes late Tuesday night, bringing widespread condemnation.

Read the full story in The Times of Chester County.

New app encourages people to anonymously report crime

For Hamden Police, it is another step in helping to bridge the gap between police officers and the communities they protect. A new smartphone app called tip411 lets smartphone users submit crime tips anonymously.

“Often I’ll be in meetings and hear people say like I did yesterday, well, I didn’t want to bother the police. I heard from somebody else well, I want to be anonymous and I didn’t want to get involved so to speak,” said Hamden Chief of Police Thomas Wydra.

 Wydra said the goal of the department is to connect with everyone in the town but realizes certain groups of people are hesitant to engage. Officers believe the app will encourage people to alert them of suspicious activity.

“We wanna reach people who ordinarily might not be willing to engage with us for a variety of reasons. That includes kids, people whose immigration status may be in jeopardy or some other process they don’t want to engage the local police. This is another way for them to reach us,” said Wydra.

Read the full story and see the video from News 8 – WTNH.

LaSalle-Peru school safety measure introduces anonymous tips

LaSalle-Peru Township High School (LPHS) has launched an anonymous tip system for the new school year that will allow the community to report situations via text message or through an app, according to a release from the school.

The school has employed tip411, a tool created by Citizen Observer, which will facilitate anonymous two-way conversations. Those wishing to use the system can download the LP tip411 app, available for both iPhone and Android, in order to submit messages, photos and videos. The system is also accessible through text message. Users can direct their tip to 847411, starting the message with “CAVALIERS.”

According to LPHS, the tips are completely anonymous; all information that could identify a user is stripped before the message is sent to authorities. Tips sent through tip411 are sent and received in real time. The system is already in place in more than 1,200 communities throughout the country.

The school noted that it has implemented the tip system in a bid to keep students, staff and visitors as safe as possible, and that it believes tip411 will better enable communication and the speed with which the school can address situations.

See the full story in the Illinois Valley Times

New ‘tip411’ app to let the public help Hamden police anonymously

A new smartphone app will let town residents be part of the police force, allowing allow anyone who downloads it to send anonymous tips and get alerts about crime in the community.

The Legislative Council this week approved funds for the police department to purchase the app.

“We know people are scared or intimidated,” Police Chief Thomas Wydra said. “This is the perfect tool to overcome that fear. It’s a way to encourage people to engage with us.”

The app, called tip411, lets a user submit crime tips anonymously, which alleviates a fear some have of getting involved with police. A user also can include photos or video.

Another feature allows the department to send out alerts to the community about crimes in the area. The alerts can be categorized by type of crime and can be directed at particular communities and neighborhoods. Through the app, a person with information can also add a tip to a specific alert.

“We want to connect with everybody, but certain groups are timid,” Wydra said. He said he is thinking specifically about schoolchildren and people with questionable immigration status who may have a heightened fear of interacting with police. “The app reaches them,” he said.

Read the full story in the New Haven Register

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

Interview with Delhi Township: Part II

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

PART II

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
tip411 has been well received by both my officers and our residents. It’s one of the best things that have happened to us – We can’t be everywhere all the time, but we have 30,000 residents that have eyes that can help us find things. It could be that 1 tip or call that solves a string of burglaries, and we need our residents help as much as they need ours.

When I took over as Police Chief in 2008, others before me didn’t think they needed to share information with the public. I think people need to know things do happen in Delhi, when they happen, and not wait a week to see it in the paper. We need to inform the public and push information out to have them help us solve crimes as they are happening, and we are doing that now thanks to tip411.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
When we put out surveillance pictures to try to identify who suspects are – whether it be for a theft, assault, armed robbery – there’s only 1 case I can remember where we’ve NEVER received any tips. All of the other hundreds of cases we’ve asked the public for help on we’ve received tips and were able to identify the suspect.

Literally within 5 minutes we’re getting tips with information. It’s tremendous as far as being able to recover property and hold criminals accountable.

One case I can remember was when we put out information after an elderly gentleman left his card in an ATM. We saw that the person that came to the ATM after him grabbed the card and then we traced that it was used at a nearby supermarket shortly thereafter. We put the suspect’s picture out around 7pm and 15 seconds later the clerk in my office asked me if I sent an alert. I told her I just hit send and she told me we had already received a tip from someone telling us they saw the alert, looked at the image, and realized it was a former coworker of theirs.

I don’t put out tons of stuff because I don’t want people to get tired of it, but I use it when we need to and it’s always been a great help. I also like to do follow up posts to let people know we were able to identify the suspect and solve a crime thanks to their help.

The only negative thing I’ve heard is…if we were to get rid of tip411, a lot of residents would be upset. Luckily, if we ever lost funding, I’m confident I could go to outside sourcing like business associations in our community because they love it and I’m sure they’d help us fund it.

Q: Your department also partners with Crime Stoppers. Can you talk about how you use Crime Stoppers and how tip411 can augment it?
A: They’re very similar in nature. Crime Stoppers give rewards out and for the most part tips that come through tip411 we don’t give out rewards. Sometimes while communicating back and forth through tip411 we realize the tipster may have good information but aren’t giving it up easy, so continue to get information we will say, “hey, if this pans out and we make an arrest, we will reach out to Crime Stoppers and get a reward for you.”

Most tips we get are coming in anonymously through tip411. I say anonymously but many people are comfortable putting their name and number in the message they send to us as well. More come through tip411 than via phone, but it’s a good mix.

Some people, I understand, are hesitant to contact police because they think there may be retribution for sharing information with us, but we have a community that wants to help and they do – dramatically. With tip411 there’s much less “us vs. them.” Residents now feel like they’re a part of the department.

 

Check back next week for the third and final part of our conversation with Chief Howarth. Missed Part I? Click here to read it.

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:

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