New crime tip line launched in Bennington County

A new tool will help put the power to fight crime in the palm of Bennington County residents’ hands.

An anonymous tip reporting program, powered by a free smartphone app, has been launched through the Bennington County Sheriff Department and The Collaborative. The app will help residents submit anonymous tips to law enforcement agencies, as well as receive alerts with their smartphone, according to Detective Sgt. Lloyd Dean.

Details of the new initiative were discussed at a press conference at the sheriff’s headquarters Monday morning. The free smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone mobile devices.

Dean said among the crimes the department and Collaborative are encouraging people to send tips for include burglaries, illegal drug activity, a party where underage youth are consuming alcohol, and bullying.

The initiative is one piece of a grant-funded partnership program to combat substance abuse, said Victoria Silsby with The Collaborative’s substance prevention program. The Collaborative is the lead organization for the five-year federally funded partnership program; funding is funneled from the state Department of Health.

“We think this county-wide approach sends a clear message that Bennington County is committed to reducing substance use and engages in substance use prevention initiatives,” she said.

Minnesota-based CitizenObserver created the tip411 tool, according to the company’s website. Law enforcement, schools, call centers and emergency management in over 1,000 communities use the company’s tools.

The app users should download here is called “BenningtonCo Sheriff” in the Android and iPhone app stores; it comes up with a search of “tip411 Bennington.” Once downloaded, a user can send a completely anonymous tip to an account that’s monitored through the sheriff’s department.

Read the full story from the Bennington Banner

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

“Everyone is texting; no one wants to talk on the phone anymore.”

tip411 interviewed Assistant Chief Jim Speyer of the Cheektowaga, New York Police Department.  Here’s what he had to say about using tip411 in their community:

Q: Tell us about your community and the Cheektowaga Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
We are a first ring suburb of the City of Buffalo with a major shopping mall that serves Western NY, Southern Ontario, Canada, and Northern Pennsylvania. It’s the hub of a huge retail area we have and brings in lots of traffic and visitors to our area. The Buffalo-Niagara Airport is located in our jurisdiction as well

There are about 87,000 people in the town of Cheektowaga, and the demographics are changing from predominantly Polish and German neighborhoods to African American neighborhoods in the area that borders the City of Buffalo.

Our department has 129 sworn officers and we’re big on community policing and getting out and knowing the public. Our goal is always to try to open doors between us and the community we serve.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
Our chief was attending an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference several years ago and heard about it there.

After that, he brought it to Cheektowaga in 2012 and we’ve been using it for the last 5 years.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
When we first implemented tip411 we had all the tips going to supervisors; sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. When they received a tip, each of them would designate if it needed to be forwarded to someone in particular for follow up.

We tried to stress to the community in the beginning that it was a tip line, not something that should be used for reporting in-progress crimes as it was not monitored 24/7.

However, the way society is today, it’s all about texting and we receive lots of calls for service through tip411 despite or efforts to communicate to people they should be calling 911.

Once we realized this was how people wanted to communicate, we set it up so that tips also go to our dispatch center. Supervisors still receive tips, but dispatches are also alerted to a tip so if it’s something that needs an immediate response they can dispatch units immediately.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
tip411 aided our department by helping us receive some valid information and tips on drugs. Lots of tips we receive are narcotics-related or about suspicious activity that gets forwarded to our narcotics officers who can initiate an investigation on an address.

People have always been able to call in to our department and say that want to be anonymous and we’ll adhere to that, but people don’t trust that it’s truly anonymous if they can. So the value of tip411 is that people trust this system to truly keep them anonymous and they use it for that.

There are times we go back and forth via text message with the tipster to get more information and sometimes they end up volunteering their identity to help us get in touch with them to get even more actionable intel on a case.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Just a few months ago, we received a tip that 2 people were in a car smoking crack. Our officers would never have known about it, but a tip came in to our dispatchers and they dispatched units. Officers found crack cocaine and heroin and arrested both individuals in the car.

This is typical of our system. We get tips on suspicious people, suspicious cars, etc. The reality, we as police believe something like this should be called in, but if people aren’t comfortable, then they use tip411 and its better than us not getting this information at all.

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A:
tip411 is promoted on our website and Facebook page. On Facebook we often post about individuals with outstanding warrants and ask people to share information with us via tip411.

When we first launched tip411, we rented billboards in the area and had a big display, which I think was great for getting in front of people and introducing the system. We also had our tip411 information stenciled on our police cruisers.

5 years later, we still hand out flyers with our tip information at community events and when I send out press releases to the media about certain incidents, I always include our tip411 information in there to ask residents to submit tips and help us fight crime.

Image_CheektowagaTip411_billboard

Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A:
I think it’s obvious that things change and even though it was not meant to be something for people to use to report crimes or incidents in progress, I feel it’s a necessity to have.

Around here, most departments have some form of an anonymous tip line, and to have this text option from tip411 is great. Everyone is texting; no one wants to talk on the phone anymore.

It’s a cultural thing. If people feel more comfortable texting – just like the case I mentioned where people were reported smoking crack – if people feel more comfortable texting than calling then that’s fine because we still got the information and got drugs off our streets.

Text through Cheektowaga’s tip411 results in two drug arrests

Two people were arrested on multiple drug charges Wednesday night after police received an anonymous tip through the department’s tip411 texting service.

The anonymous text was sent to the department around 7 p.m. saying that a car was parked on Oakwood Drive in the town’s South Line district and several people were smoking drugs.

“Officers Chris Wierzbowski and Mike Menth responded and found two people in the car and then discovered a baggie with crack cocaine at the feet of the occupants.  Further investigation led to the discovery of multiple envelopes of heroin, a crack pipe, and several hypodermic needles,” said James Speyer, Assistant Chief of Police.

Police arrested and charged Jessica Seiler, 22 of Tristan Lane, Williamsville and Dillon Butchart, 25 of Pleasant Ave, Depew with three counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Hypodermic Instrument.

Read the full story in the Cheektowaga Chronicle.

Ramsey police introduce anonymous texting tip service

The borough police department has launched an anonymous texting line for people to report crimes, authorities announced Wednesday.

People will now be able to text 847411 (tip411) and send anonymous tips about crime or suspicious activity, authorities said.

More than 1,200 communities in the United States use tip411, which allows police officers to receive real-time information, Ramsey police said.

“We believe the public is our greatest law enforcement resource,” Chief Brian Gurney said. “Tip411 allows a safe and secure way for community members to share important information with police without the fear of retribution.”

The service also “removes all identifying information before police see it and there is no way to identify the sender,” authorities said.

Gurney said that the service could also be used for people to report possible overdoses.

“Due to the opiate overdose epidemic, we are hoping that the Tip411 system will offer an alternative for people who may know of others that may need help with their opioid addiction,” he said. “We are also offering an alternative for young people, who do not want to formally contact police with regard to their friends that may be experiencing drug addiction and other issues.”

Gurney said anyone with questions can get more information by calling 201-327-2400.

Read the full story from NorthJersey.com

Marion County Sheriff Starts Anonymous Tipline

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has announced the launch of its text to tip program, tip411. Tip411 is a new way to keep the community connected and informed through email, text message and online public safety alerts. Tip411 also allows the public to report crime tips and other non-emergent suspicious activities directly to police by sending anonymous text messages from their cell phone or via a free smart phone app.

“Tip 411 is a service that allows its users to report criminal activity or suspicious circumstances anonymously,” Lt. Chris Baldridge said. “(It) is not a replacement for 911 or a call to our dispatch center during an in progress incident. This service is designed to help us gather information on the location of wanted criminals and to identify areas where criminal activity may be occurring. The new tip411 system allows our office to engage with the public and share information that will help make Marion County a safer place.”

Register to receive alerts by visiting https://tip411site.wordpress.com/sign-up-for-alerts/.

While not a replacement for dialing 911 in an emergency, those wishing to share information anonymously with police can simply text TipMCSO and their message to 847411 (tip411).

The new MCSO In The Know App for iPhone and Android from tip411 enables the public to share an anonymous tip with police and lets the officers respond back creating an anonymous two-way conversation.

Read the full story from the Woodburn Independent.

Marion County Sheriff’s kick off text to tip app

Marion County residents can now report crime tips via text message.

The new text-to-tip program, tip411, allows Marion County Sheriff’s Office to help connect with the community.

The program lets users report crime tips and suspicious activities by sending an anonymous text message from their cellphone or through a free app called MCSO In The Know.

“We believe an informed community is a safer community,” said Lt. Chris Baldridge,  Marion County Sheriff’s public information officer.

MCSO In The Know gives officers the ability respond back by creating an anonymous two-way conversation.

The technology utilized in the app removes identifying information from users before messages reach police.

In addition to the two-way text conversations, the sheriff’s office will inform registered app users of public safety alerts by sending emails, text messages and app alerts.

Anonymous crime tips can also be shared by sending by texting “TipMCSO” and their message to 847411, or tip411.

Read the full story from the Statesman Journal.