Tip411 Let's Work Together

Fridley police tip app brings uptick in ‘quality of life’ reports

Fridley police have seen an increase in “quality of life” reports since implementing a tip app for smartphones about a year ago, according to Fridley police Capt. Ryan George.

The free app, Tip411, allows people to submit tips to the Police Department completely anonymously. Tip411 was funded in partnership with Fridley Public Schools.

The quality of life tips may be notifying the police of a noisy neighbor or parking problems.

“It seems to be things that are close to the tipsters’ house, so I can see why somebody wouldn’t want to call 911 on their neighbors and give a name and address and all that stuff,” George said. “So we’ve really seen an uptick in those tips lately.”

For those fearing repercussions from calling the police Tip411 can provide peace of mind, according to George.

“They don’t have to live in fear that their neighbor’s going to find out they called 911,” George said. “It’s 100% anonymous. We can’t figure out who the tipster is, even if we try to subpoena the company or get a search warrant for the records. They don’t have it.”

The only people seeing the tip through the app are Fridley Police staff, he said. Staff can engage in dialogue with tipsters to get more details if necessary.

Tip411 has been useful during times when police ask for the public’s help identifying someone or with anything related to a crime, George said. Users can send police any information they have through the app.

The anonymous app is useful for Fridley students as well, George said. If students hear a classmate threatening to hurt themselves or other people, they could anonymously report those threats to the police through the app.

Fridley Public Schools initially wanted to collaborate with the Police Department a few years ago, Fridley Public Schools director of communications and community relations Jael McLemore said.

“Tragic events can be prevented if they are reported to law enforcement ahead of time, and resources such as (Tip411) provide an additional layer to regular reporting channels, such as 911, that community members can use,” McLemore said.

In addition to the Tip411 app, she said, students have access to counselors and other school staff members if anything needs to be reported to keep schools safe.

“We really don’t want to miss an opportunity to partner if that helps enhance safety, if that helps increase security for our staff, our students and our buildings,” McLemore said.

Police are able to push notifications out to people’s phones as well. If there’s a street blocked off or an accident to report, police can tell the community through the app, so users are in the know if there are any major incidents.

Fridley residents can download the app through their phones’ app stores by searching Fridley PD Tip411.

Read the full story from HometownSource.com

Lynn Police Massachusetts

“We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department.”

tip411 interviewed Captain Mark O’Toole of the Lynn, Massachusetts Police Department.

Q: Tell us about Lynn and your department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The City of Lynn is the ninth largest city in Massachusetts with a population of approximately 93,000 but likely another 10,000 undocumented persons. We are 10.4 square miles and have been accumulating “city problems” over the years. We’re one city away from Boston but have a lot of the same issues they do, just on a smaller level. Our department has shrunk from almost 200 sworn down to about 165. Crime is going down in terms of the index numbers, but the calls for service have not decreased. We run the gambit on all crimes including robbery, car breaks, larceny, and housebreaks.

Q: Why did you decide to bring tip411 to Lynn?
A:
Over the years we’ve seen a mindset among the population of not wanting to get involved and not wanting to cooperate. We found tip411 to be a conduit to get information while allowing people to remain anonymous. As technology gets better, more and more people in our community communicate via text. We wanted to tap into that rather than making people pick up a phone and call. The custom app tip411 built for us is making a huge difference in getting tips as well.

Q: Anything you would tell other agencies considering tip411?
A: We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department. It gets us into the younger, tech savvy generation. Once they send us a tip, it’s out there, and they can’t take it back.  The two-way communication is great because we can ask questions and many people respond back with more information so we can deploy our resources. Tip411 has been a huge help to our people. Unlike our anonymous phone tip line where we can’t ask that next question to get more information, we can and do with tip411. Almost everyone has a cell phone, they can take pictures and send things to you and they do, and it’s instant. If you can get them to tip you on some stuff, you can get them to tip you on bigger, more important stuff, too. tip411 has been a great investment for us in terms of gaining information and communicating with our public. If you’re not on it, you’re missing out on the opportunity for some really great information to help solve crimes.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
On March 21stwe got a tip about a Level 3 Sex Offender that was living in our community near an elementary school. The subject was confirmed as unregistered in our city as required, more investigation was done and charges were filed for failure to register. This is the type of thing we want to know, and we were able to take action as a result of the tip. We have a wide variety of crimes, and when our PIO sends something out to the newspapers, on Twitter, and on Facebook, we always put the tip411 information on it. We include video stills when we can, and we get a fair amount of tips that lead us to who the person or persons are.

Q: Any success working with other jurisdictions through tip411?
A:
We received a tip not long ago about a guy wanted on a sexual assault crime. The tipster told us he was living at an address in Pensacola, Florida, and we reached out to Pensacola PD and they were able to apprehend the guy.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
Tips come in to the patrol division and the commanding officer is responsible for monitoring them. There are several other people in the department, including myself, who have access to the tips and can monitor them on their phone in case it’s something that needs immediate action. For example, we’ve had complaints of children possibly being neglected and it comes through and patrol has gone right out and done checks on the addresses and acted swiftly when required.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in Lynn to make your residents aware of it?
A:
We promote tip411 through our website, with community groups, and include the tip411 information on anything we’re asking for the public’s assistance on.  We have business cards with our tip411 information on them as well that we hand out to community members.We have some vice situations that I’m concerned could turn violent, so I’m working on a campaign to reach out to that at-risk community specifically with information about tip411 and how they can share information with us to protect their and others’ safety anonymously without having to identify themselves.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your department is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
I just looked at the numbers and since we began partnering with tip411 in 2014, we’ve gotten over 3,000 tips. We love the feature of the two-way communication and people being allowed to include photo/video tips. The vast majority we receive are about narcotics activity, and I’ll frequently respond back to the tipster asking for more information. We do get information back that has resulted in very successful investigations. These types of successful investigations can be directly attributed to the tip411 service.

Q: What types of tips/situations have you seen tip411 be most useful for in Lynn?
A: A good thing about the texts is that they can’t take it back. Sometimes people reach out with information in the heat of the moment while they’re angry or upset, and we have that information in digital form. tip411 is definitely useful for narcotics and for vice crimes as well.

Crime Solvers Tip411

Fairfax County Crime Solvers Partners with tip411

Fairfax County Crime Solvers has partnered with tip411 to introduce a new and innovative crime-fighting tool.

Through a partnership with tip411, information can now be shared anonymously with police via a free smartphone app, text message, or a web tip form.

Fairfax County Crime Solvers encourages anyone with a smartphone to download their free Fairfax Co Crime Solvers app for iPhone/Android or to text anonymous tips to 847411 using keyword FCCS.

Residents should submit tips about crimes, drugs, bullying, threats, suspicious activity, and more to help police protect students and community members of all ages.

Issues requiring immediate public safety attention should always be reported directly police by calling 9-1-1.

More information about Fairfax County Crime Solvers can be found at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org

Chief John Swenson

Lino Lakes Police Now Using tip411 to Communicate with Residents

Tony Stano wanted for some time to bring the product he’s helped sell to communities around the country to the city where he lives.

“It’s kind of a passion project for me,” said Stano, who lives in Lino Lakes and is sales director for Tip411, a Twin Cities-based company that has operated a law enforcement communication platform for nearly 20 years.

“I know how important it is to every community we work with because it’s a complete community engagement tool that works to provide a safe space for residents to get involved in government where they might not otherwise feel inclined to say anything about what’s happening in their neighborhoods,” Stano said.

Lino Lakes Public Safety Department is the latest agency to sign on, and the system is now live.

“This is a platform for us to have really on-going engagement with our community,” said Public Safety Director John Swenson. “(Residents) can also provide information to us anonymously through text messaging, through the app, or through the website.”

It works seamlessly with the department’s existing social media platforms, including Facebook, which has continued to prove popular with people who live and work in Lino Lakes.

Tip411 also divides the city into four zones to streamline communication and make each zone specific to where users are most interested in knowing what’s going on.

“Simply by clicking a couple of boxes, we’re able to send that information across all of our social media platforms at one time, which is a real advantage for us,” said Swenson. “Public safety really is a partnership. We cannot possibly keep track of everything that’s going on in our community.”

“It doesn’t matter the size of the agency or community,” said Stano. “If you can send a text, download an app, or manage the internet in any capacity, you can utilize Tip411 to participate in neighborhood safety.”

Lino Lakes Tip411 Anonymous Tips

Lino Lakes Police debut new app on Night to Unite

Residents now have another way to stay informed about what is going on in their community and share information with law enforcement while remaining anonymous.

Just in time for Night to Unite Aug. 6, the Lino Lakes Public Safety Department (LLPSD) announced it had partnered with Tip411 so residents can have a multitude of channels to communicate with law enforcement — all anonymously.

“For the residents, it is just one more opportunity for them to partner with us and provide us information,” Public Safety Director John Swenson said. “For us, it is providing another opportunity to get information that can help us further make our community safe and it allows us to do some targeted communications and continue to work to find efficiencies for social media use.”

Tip411 is a St. Paul company that has been around since 2000. The company works with law enforcement, schools and community groups to implement community notification systems including crime alerts, anonymous text tips, smartphone apps and social media pushes. Tip411 currently works with 1,800 communities across 47 states. Some of its largest customers include the U.S. Air Force and the cities of San Francisco, San Antonio, Minneapolis and Duluth.

Lino Lakes resident Tony Stano, who has been a sales director with Tip411for almost six years, said over the past several years he has periodically checked in with city officials to see if there was interest in joining the Tip411 platform. “Because it was my hometown, I was particularly passionate about seeing it through to fruition or to have the door shut,” Stano explained. The department and the company started planning for the launch a year ago.

Swenson said although the technology is something his department had been interested in for a long time, because of the department’s size there were only so many resources it could manage.

“The thing that really tipped it for us and why we decided to go with it, was the ability to create targeted zones of our city so we could do communications direct to areas,” Swenson explained. “For example, if we had something going on in northwest corner of our city related to theft from vehicles, we could send it out to that area of the city, versus broadcasting it throughout. We can be specific about our messaging geographically, which we have not had an ability to do prior to this application.”

Through Tip411, the LLPSD can send out alerts through its custom branded mobile app (available for iPhone and Android), email, text and social media. Residents are also able to send anonymous tips via all those channels. Through the app and on the website, residents can also submit tips about specific pins/incidents on the community crime map.

“One of the main benefits of Tip411 is that any tip that is sent in starts at two-way conversation with law enforcement and the tipster remains anonymous 100% of the time. For every tip that LLPSD receives, they will have the opportunity to respond to the tip or ask questions to develop information before ever having to deploy a physical resource if necessary,” Stano said. “So instead of an officer chasing down a two-sentence tip that they really don’t know about, they can save time and communicate over our service. For the public, it is a safe space to get involved without the fear of retribution or retaliation.”

The mobile app also enables residents to attach videos and or pictures to their tips. “If LLPSD pushes out an alert that they are looking for a suspect in a red car, you could be sitting at Applebees eating your rib tips and see that car in the parking lot. Right from your mobile device in real time, you can submit a tip about that alert,” Stano said.

As always, residents should call 911 in an emergency. “It is very important that everybody understands this is a mechanism for people to communicate with us about a non-emergency event, or a not-in-progress event,” Swenson urged. “If you need to see a police officer, or you see something suspicious in your neighborhood and you want a police response, that has to go through our dispatch center because these platforms are not monitored on an ongoing basis.”

By downloading the app, you opt in to getting alerts through the app. If you want alerts via email or text, you have to sign up online on the city’s website. (Go to the public safety tab, click police division, programs & initiatives and then Tip411.) Residents are encouraged to sign up for the particular zone they live in, although they are also able to receive all alerts across the city if they so choose. For questions, contact LLPSD at 651-982-2323.

Read the full story from Quad Community Press