Rockland County Anonymous Tip Program

Interview with Rockland County, NY about their use of tip411

tip411 interviewed Sergeant Earl Lorence of the Clarkstown, New York Police Department about his experience with tip411 at the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office.

Q: Tell us about your community and the work of the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office (how many residents, how many sworn, your role between PD and DA’s Office, etc.).
A:  
There are approximately 600 sworn law enforcement officers in Rockland County, NY.  There are approximately 325,000 residents in Rockland County. The RC DA and the 10 police departments and RC Sheriff’s Department work collaboratively to reduce, disrupt and prevent crime.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
Yonkers PD / Westchester, NY implemented it years ago and we have been aware of the platform since that time.  We were looking for a way to engage our citizens

Q: How is tip411 administered in your area (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
As the tips come in, they are immediately disseminated to the agency representative that handles that jurisdiction.  They can then handle the tip the way that they see fit according to their agency guidelines.

Q: How has tip411 aided the DA’s Office?
A:
It has brought several different law enforcement agencies to work together for the common good of the community.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
 The platform was responsible for information leading to an arrest of a resident who had weapons and a large amount of drugs. The tipster only felt comfortable reaching out anonymously via the app and continued communicating, which helped us build the case and arrest the suspect.

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A:
We have been doing ‘free’ advertising on social media via each departments Facebook page and Twitter page.  In addition, we advertised in our local Sunday newspaper and digital advertising via their platform as well. 

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A:
Have ‘buy-in’ from the top down or else it may impede the progress of getting the message out to the public.

tip411 app program download Rockland County

Rockland District Attorney’s Office tips411 app: What are tipsters reporting?

The Rockland County District Attorney’s tip411 app has been downloaded hundreds of times in its first six months and has generated dozens of tips from all corners of the county, some leading to arrests.

The app lets smartphone users send anonymous tips about suspected crime, drugs, vehicle and traffic concerns, suspicious activity and other quality of life issues to their local police department with officers able to respond, creating a two-way chat.

The app’s settings allow users to receive alerts about reported crime on a countywide basis or in just their own towns. Users can also submit posts, photos and video from social media.

VIDEO: Rockland DA announces new tip411 app for anonymous tipsters

ROCKLAND: Law enforcement unveils anonymous tip texting app

One tip led to a shared investigation between the county Narcotics Task Force and Ramapo police that resulted in a pair of arrests for cocaine, marijuana and a stun gun.

Three arrests for outstanding warrants also came as a result of tips through the app, said Capt. Brendan Donohue of the District Attorney’s Office Detective Bureau, who oversees the program.

“It’s a great way people can report on things without having their name exposed and they can help fight crime,” Donohue said. “They’re really partners with the police, that’s the whole idea,”

Dohohue said the majority of the tips have been for suspected crimes like drug deals on the streets or complaints like speeding or stop signs being ignored in specific neighborhoods.

“We can use our resources to put cars in those areas,” he said.

District Attorney Tom Zugibe said the app takes the fear out of reporting suspected crime because law enforcement cannot trace the users’ identity.

Read the full story from Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Anonymous tip texting app

Rockland law enforcement unveils anonymous tip texting app

Anyone who witnesses a crime or can provide information on wrongdoing can use a free anonymous cell phone application to text police.

The county’s social media-based tip411 application was unveiled Tuesday by the Rockland District Attorney’s Office and local police. The system has been used in Westchester County, as well as across the state and nation.

While police still want emergency calls to go to 911, tip411 is geared toward texting tips and video and could overcome fears of witness intimidation, authorities said during a news conference at the District Attorney’s Office in the Rockland Courthouse.

The application also allows for receiving police alerts and social media channels.

“Giving the public the ability to anonymously communicate with police will allow people to provide key information without fear of reprisal,” District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said. “Tip411 will also help to alleviate a lack of witness cooperation, which has hampered the investigative process in many criminal cases.”

The targeted audience is especially young people, who are rarely without their cell phones.

“Tell a young person to make a phone call and they don’t want to,” Zugibe said. “Tell them to send a text message, no problem.”

The “RocklandCo DA app” can be downloaded free from Google Play Store, iTunes App Store, or by visiting the District Attorney’s Office website at www.rocklandgov.com.

Police said the system enables people to send anonymous tips about crime, drugs, bullying and suspicious activity to their local police department with officers able to respond, creating a two-way chat.

Three ways to send tips:

  • Send anonymous text tips to 847411 – tip411- then type keyword “rocklandcoda” add a space, type your tip info and hit send.
  • An anonymous tip can be sent through the free RocklandCo DA Smartphone app for iPhone and Android or tablet.
  • Use the anonymous web tip form at the District Attorney’s Office at www.rocklandgov.com.
“This does not replace 911 for crimes in progress,” Zugibe said, adding the tips are an investigative tool for police to solve crimes. “The tips are 100 percent anonymous.”

Police said the tip system has been used in Westchester County for nearly six years and has helped solve “cold cases.”

The system costs $17,000 for 24 months. The cost is paid through funds seized from criminal enterprises, District Attorney’s Office Capt. Brendan Donohue said.

All tips will be investigated just as if a person called in on the telephone or walked into a police station, authorities said, referring to people submitting false information.

Zugibe also said the information is not prosecution testimony.

“This is not a substitute to testimony,”  he said. “This will be a valuable investigative tool.”

Read the full story from Lohud.

Onondaga County

Interview: Onondaga County, NY Sheriff’s Office

tip411 interviewed Captain Dan Brogan of the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department in Onondaga County, New York.

Q: Tell us about Onondaga County and your department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
Onondaga County is located in Central New York and includes the city of Syracuse. The county is 827 square miles, has a population of over 750,000 residents, and our department has just over 220 sworn members.

Q: How is tip411 administered in the Sheriff’s department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
Our previous tip lines ran through the Public Information Office. When we set up tip411, we made the decision to have several administrators on the system who are responsible for being a clearinghouse for tips that are received. When they come in to myself, the Public Information Office, our Fusion Center, etc., we distribute the tips according to topic and assign them to individuals to respond and have tip conversations directly with the tipster.

Q: How is the tip411 system used in your community?
A:
The majority of tips we receive, without question, are for drug activity. Most people want to report drug activity because no one wants a drug house next door to them, but they don’t have great success by calling 911 with this information because, usually, there’s very little patrol can do when they respond.

Because people can share this information electronically through tip411 and they know it’s anonymous, they have been providing more specific information than they leave on our tip line where they have to leave a voice message.

When email came out years ago we saw a huge uptick in the amount of tips that came in that way, but once people realized that we could trace their IP address to find out where the tip came from and that it was not truly anonymous, they became much more skeptical of contacting us that way.

With tip411, there’s not that traceability which is great for the tipster, yet we are able to create an ongoing anonymous conversation and ask questions to get that one more piece of information that makes a tip actionable and helps us affect arrest.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in Onondaga County?
A:
We’ve had success because we’ve done promotion of the system. We have the information on our website and almost every single night on the news there’s something from the Sheriff’s department about a crime and how we’re trying to identify a suspect and tip411 is available to share information safely and anonymously.

It’s also been helpful to us that the Syracuse Police Department and Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office are both using and promoting tip411 as well because it has added to a wider knowledge about the system with residents in our county.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
What’s notable is the every day success we’re having with the system that we hadn’t seen before. We’re getting more tips, closing more cases, and being able to continue anonymous tip conversations with reporting party rather than just getting a voicemail with a piece of information that isn’t enough to help us build a case off of.

We’ve had neighbors and community groups in meetings tell us they’re glad we’ve taken care of this problem or that drug location, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it with tip411.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your department is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
We’ve absolutely seen an increase. Previously we got about one to two tips per week on our traditional phone tip line and through other avenues. We’re still seeing that, but in addition we’re now receiving about a tip per day through tip411.

Since launching our tip411 system in December of 2015, we’ve received approximately 225 tips. That’s 225 more tips than we would’ve gotten without tip411.

Of those 225 tips, we’ve opened 70 cases and closed nearly 80% of those through arrests.

I spent 14 years as Supervisor of the Narcotics Unit, and during that time we closed between 55% and 60% of cases based on tips that came in. The ones we didn’t make arrests on were because we couldn’t verify because there wasn’t enough information. With tip411, now we can go back and ask that one or two extra questions to make it more successful. For example, a tip about a blue car isn’t that helpful, but if we can follow up and get the tipster to share the license plate for the blue car, that really helps quite a bit and that’s why we’ve seen our arrest rate grow significantly with tip411.

Q: So, why tip411?
A: We got tip411 in December 2015 through a partnership with the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office and it’s been very successful for us. As I’ve said, it’s not just a substitute for other ways we have for people to submit tips, it’s an additional, anonymous avenue for people to reach us with important information that’s helping us get more information and close more cases.

Q: Anything you would tell other agencies considering tip411?
A: It’s a success. It’s had a proven track record of success with us for anonymous tips for narcotics because it allows you to communicate anonymously with the tipster and lets a lot more people come forward with more information.

People want to come forward, but they’re petrified. tip411 has helped remove that fear and has been a really a fantastic addition to our arsenal.

What Made for a Successful Launch in Onondaga County, NY?

To announce tip411’s arrival at 20 agencies in the Syracuse area, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick did three important things:

  1. Held a press conference and invited chiefs from local departments to attend to show their support for the system and promote its use to local media outlets.
  2. Produced posters and flyers showing agency-specific tip411 keywords that participating agencies could hand out, give to business, hang in city buildings, and use on their social media sites and webpages.
  3. Participated in ongoing promotion – Aside from the initial press conference, the DA and Syracuse Police Chief gave one-on-one interviews to media outlets in the days following the launch to assure continued coverage of the new system in order to reach more members of the public.

See More:

Video – District Attorney Fitzpatrick discusses tip411 outreach
Video -Onondaga County Lauches tip411

 

Outreach planned for Tip411

Onondaga County’s District Attorney is planning a major outreach to get more residents to use Tip 411, to help area law enforcers.

The anonymous tip ‘line’ (actually a phone app) is set up for use by 20 law enforcement agencies in Onondaga County.

D A Bill Fitzpatrick says that in the next month, there will be outreach to every house of worship and school to pass on information on how to get involved.

The easiest way to access the app, according to Fitzpatrick, is to search ‘Onondaga’ in your app store. When Tip411 is downloaded, you’ll be prompted to select ‘your’ agency.

Read the full story from CNYCentral.com

Westchester County Launches tip411 Anonymous Tip Program

Westchester County, New York law enforcement recently launched the anonymous tip411 program that will allow anyone with a smartphone, tablet, standard cell phone or computer to share a tip with their local police department.

The Yonkers Police Department has been successfully using the system for the last four years and now, with the help of the Westchester County District Attorney, 37 departments in the county will be participating in the DA’s tip411 program.

“This program puts a powerful new crime fighting tool into the hands of our community. Law enforcement must continue to be forward thinking, and embracing the way many people communicate today, adds to the way that everyone, especially the younger age demographic, can contact police. The system allows citizens to report on a crime without having to say a word, providing an unprecedented anywhere, anytime, silent and anonymous approach to crime reporting,” said District Attorney Janet DiFiore.

View Westchester County Crime Tips Facebook Page