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

“We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.”

tip411 interviewed Public Information Officer Alexandra Ovington of the Arlington Heights, Illinois Police Department.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A:
tip411 has aided our agency by allowing citizens’ voices to be heard anonymously. As police officers, we routinely hear from citizens that they are afraid to call 911. Many citizens believe they can be charged with filing a false police report if what they reported was incorrect or inaccurate. While this line of thinking is a misconception, it still creates an issue of suspicious or criminal activity being underreported in our community. tip411 creates a platform for these citizens to report incidents to police without the fear of misreporting. This allows our agency to be aware of crime or suspicious activity that would otherwise not be reported.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Our last arrest credited to tip411 is a case involving a stolen vehicle. In that case, a food delivery driver responded to a local hotel for a delivery, and while the driver was inside the hotel making the delivery, a female suspect stole his vehicle, which was left running in the parking lot. A tip was received via tip411 identifying the female offender, and that identification led to an arrest. The male that provided the tip received a cash reward courtesy of Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers.

Q: Tell us about your community and your agency (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The Village of Arlington Heights is located in Cook County, Illinois. The Village is approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The population of Arlington Heights is estimated at 75,249. Arlington Heights Police Department has 107 Sworn Police Officers. Arlington Heights is best known for the Arlington Park Race Track, home of the Arlington Million; a Breeders Cup qualifying event.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
We heard about tip411 via the internet. We officially signed up in 2008 and have been using it ever since.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
 As the Public Information Officer (PIO), I am authorized to post on all social media platforms. Myself and my partner, the Problem Oriented Policing Coordinator (POP), facilitate the majority of posts through tip411. The PIO and POP post media releases, crime alerts, crime maps, event alerts, citizen/community alerts, and updates. In the event of a critical incident or media release for immediate distribution when neither the PIO or POP are available, supervisors are authorized to post on social media platforms through tip411. Any tips that are received are responded to by the PIO and POP and are subsequently assigned to the appropriate bureau.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A:
It is a benefit for the Police Department to reach as many citizens as possible via tip411, as the more eyes and ears we have in the community, the safer our community becomes. In addition to cross-posting all posts made through tip411 to Facebook and Twitter, we also provide citizens with how-to instructions for signing up for and using tip411. We offer these instructions in handouts that we distribute at all community events including Police Department Open Houses and safety presentations. We also utilize tip411 in partnership with Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers whom, through their contributions, offer up to $1,000 for tips that successfully lead to arrests.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
While the frequency of tips we receive vary from month to month, we do not quantify our success with tip411 based on an increase in the cases we are solving because of tips we receive. We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A:
Do not be afraid to provide case information to your community via tip411. Any information you can disseminate to the public for specific cases will only help to increase the amount of tips you receive in return. A strong Social Media presence leads to a strong Social Media following. Increase your eyes and ears and you will be surprised at your community’s willingness to help the police solve cases.

Benton Harbor Police Department Cruiser

New tip411 system not intended to replace 911 calls

Lack of witness cooperation has been a frustration for Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis throughout his law enforcement career.

He hopes that use of a new, customized, crime-fighting smartphone app will help residents get involved. The tip411 system, which will be available to Benton Harbor residents within four weeks, is 100 percent anonymous, McGinnis said Friday.

McGinnis stresses that it is not intended to replace 911. He said residents in an emergency situation should continue to call 911. But someone witnessing a minor incident or having delayed information about a major incident should use the tip411 app. Residents in Benton Harbor without a smartphone will be able to text an anonymous tip to police via a cell phone by texting keyword BHPD to 847411 (tip411).

“This is not to replace 911,” McGinnis said. “But sometimes, if people want to be anonymous, they get frustrated if they call 911 to report something and a dispatcher starts asking a battery of questions when the person just wants to have the police come. People get frustrated and hang up.”

The app will allow residents to find information, view alerts, report crimes as they happen, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphone. The technology removes all identifying information before police see the tips, and there is no way to identify the sender.

“Our mission is to partner with the community to solve problems and improve public safety in a manner that is fair, impartial, transparent and consistent,” McGinnis said. “We believe our new tip411 app will help engage residents to partner with us and help fight crime.” 

McGinnis said he does not know all the reasons people are uncooperative or unwilling to report crimes or provide witness testimony. He said a common reason is fear of retaliation. Although in reality, he said, that typically does not happen. 

“Or sometimes they’re just apathetic. We have people who are victims and they will not name the perpetrator. It’s a cultural thing,” he said.

Developed by tip411, the app will improve the public’s access to agency alerts, social media channels and important information, tip411 President Terry Halsch stated in a news release.

“We’ve listened to feedback from partners like Benton Harbor and have built a more advanced and innovative product to help departments better engage their communities,” he said.

McGinnis said as soon as the app is available for residents to download, it will be announced through traditional media and social media.

Read the full story from The Herald Palladium

Help fight crime in Bismarck

New program yielding tips for Bismarck Police Department

The Bismarck Police Department’s new anonymous tip program has yielded more than 100 tips since its launch on Jan. 1.

Officer Katie Horn said the tip411 app allows users to provide tips quickly but remain anonymous if they wish. Within a couple days of its launch, information received through the program helped officers locate a runaway. Tipsters also have provided information about shoplifters, and about 30 tips have been received on an active felony fraud case dating back to 2018.

The tip411 program replaces Crime Stoppers, which the department stopped using when tip411 was launched.

Tipsters can use tip411 three ways. They can text information directly to tip411, submit information to tip411 through the BPD website or use the app to send a message. Photos and videos can be attached to those messages. The message and text methods are quicker and easier, Horn said. Text messages can be sent to 847411. The keyword is BISPD.

Read the full story from The Bismarck Tribune