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National Association of Counties
Washington, D.C.

www.NACo.org

 

 Phone app shows counties new ways to fight crime

By Christopher Johnson
EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Have a crime to report but want to remain anonymous? For residents in counties across the country, there’s an app for that.

Fairfax County, Va. Crime Solvers recently launched the free app TipSubmit, which allows the public to anonymously submit tips to police through the local Crime Solvers program. You can download TipSubmit on iPhones and Android phones. 

“If there’s any incident of harassment, assault or drugs, this app could be used to help get the information to police without fear of information being traced back to the tipster,” said Shelley Broderick, spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Police.

With TipSubmit, users select the local crime solvers program to send a tip. They then fill out a tip form, which allows users to select the type of crime, attach a photo and even give a location of the crime using the phone’s GPS feature.

The tip is assigned a code and users can track correspondence about the issue with the local police department. TipSubmit is also used by other local police departments, including Montgomery and Charles counties in Maryland; and the city of Manassas and Stafford County in Virginia.

TipSubmit was developed by CrimeReports.com, a company based in Salt Lake City that works with thousands of law enforcement agencies to help reduce, prevent and solve crimes by enabling officials to easily open and manage a controlled dialog with the public. CrimeReports.com offers online crime-fighting tools including a public crime map, alert messaging, anonymous tip submission and data analytics.

The new mobile application augments the existing TipSoft tools that allow the public to submit anonymous tips via phone, Web and SMS Text-a-Tip. The app has the ability to use GPS to auto-locate the nearest agency or users can select an agency manually. Members of the public can attach images and video to tips. The app also makes it possible to establish an anonymous, ongoing, two-way dialogue and real-time chat with the receiving agency. Tipsters could receive rewards of up to $1,000 for information submitted to Crime Solvers, and the tipster’s identity is confidential.

In Virginia, tipsters and their information are protected under state law when their information is reported to a certified Crime Solvers program.

Crime Solvers (also known as Crime Stoppers in some jurisdictions) began in Albuquerque, N.M. in 1976. It is a national community-oriented program involving citizens, the business community, news media and police departments working together in the fight against crime. Comprising a group of citizens along with a police liaison, the programs pay cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of any person or persons who commit crimes or for the capture of a wanted criminal. Rewards are funded solely by donations from local businesses and private citizens.

Crime Solvers programs are started by concerned citizens who want to help their communities fight crime. Each program is independent and operates under its own bylaws and board of directors. Board members come from all segments of the community and donate their time and talents for one common goal — to make the program a success by assisting law enforcement in reducing crime.

To download the TipSoft application, visit http://TipSoft.com or visit the Android Market or iTunes App Store.

 

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