Benton Harbor residents will soon be able to report suspicious activity through tip411, a smartphone app that allows people to report activities anonymously.
Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis said he wants to help citizens feel safe communicating with law enforcement.
“The company that does this will not reveal the person’s name,” he said.
He said they have talked to people who know who shot them, but won’t tell the police.
“We had a person who had been murdered, who was done in front of people who actually took him to the hospital and none of them wanted step up and speak,” he said.
McGinnis said it’s a chance to let people communicate on their own terms.
“We just need the information,” he said. “We don’t care where it come from in most cases. But if we don’t get it, it makes it hard for us to protect your neighborhoods.”
In addition, he said the app will allow the department to send out alerts if needed.
After the meeting, Deputy Director Mike Clark said residents will be notified, when the app is ready, about how to download and use it through the city’s website and a news release. He didn’t know how long it will take to launch the app.
During the meeting, McGinnis said one of the things residents sometimes want to report anonymously is illegal dumping.
McGinnis declared war on illegal dumping about two weeks ago. Anyone who sees someone suspected of illegal dumping can call the new dumping hotline at 944-7929.
“It’s absolutely appalling,” he said.
He said a state Department of Environmental Quality investigator last week found five automobile repair shops that didn’t have the proper paperwork, showing that they legally disposed of scrap tires.
“They are on notice,” he said. “… The tire situation is absolutely horrendous. We have hundreds and hundreds of tires in ravines.”
McGinnis said they have made 13 arrests concerning illegal dumping since the last City Commission meeting.