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

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

Spring Crime Prevention Tips from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

The following is a community alert the Hillsborough County, Florida Sheriff’s Office sent to their residents using tip411 to share crime prevention tips for Spring:

“Just some friendly reminders since we just hopped into Spring. The weather is beautiful outside and there will be some spring cleaning going on inside homes as well as yard work outside in preparation for the upcoming warmer months.

  • Ensure doors and windows are locked at your home. This includes even if you are only leaving for a short period of time.
  • Ensure all of your gardening tools are secured in your garage or storage shed with adequate locking mechanisms. Don’t leave your garage open when you are working outside in the backyard out of sight of your garage. Criminals look for opportunities such as open garages.
  • Do not leave your garage door open to vent the heat out, even if it is just a few inches. Criminals can and will slide underneath. They may even use a child to slide underneath and open the door for them.
  • Always secure bicycles out of sight and in a secure location.
  • Ensure that you have a secure door between you and possible solicitors. Always keep your screen door locked and if you do answer the door, then you have a secondary barrier between. Criminals take opportunities with unsecured screen doors and make their way inside.”

View the alert to see their full list of tips.

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.

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.

tip411 Program Assists in Theft Arrest

A 36-year-old Deerwood man was arrested Saturday for receiving stolen property following the recovery of a stolen all-terrain vehicle on the 22000 block of Cottontail Drive in Cuyuna.

Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office was called at 12:39 p.m. about a recovery of a stolen 2013 Polaris Razor ATV from the Cottontail Drive residence, which was originally stolen a few days prior at a residence on Placid Lake Drive in rural Deerwood. While deputies were at the residence, they also located additional stolen property from other residences including four-wheeler, and a boat and trailer that had not been reported stolen yet as the owner didn’t know it was missing until deputies contacted them.

The 36-year-old Deerwood man, who was arrested for having the stolen property and is in jail awaiting formal charges, also is on probation for third-degree sale of a controlled substance and has a lengthy criminal history, the sheriff’s office reported.

Sheriff Todd Dahl reports the recovery was the direct result of the TIP411 program which was implemented about four months ago.

“The program works exactly as it was designed to do,” Dahl stated in a news release. “It allows people to submit anonymous tips through their phones or computers directly to our investigators. It’s a great tool.”

Read the full story from the Brainerd Dispatch