Ramsey police introduce anonymous texting tip service

The borough police department has launched an anonymous texting line for people to report crimes, authorities announced Wednesday.

People will now be able to text 847411 (tip411) and send anonymous tips about crime or suspicious activity, authorities said.

More than 1,200 communities in the United States use tip411, which allows police officers to receive real-time information, Ramsey police said.

“We believe the public is our greatest law enforcement resource,” Chief Brian Gurney said. “Tip411 allows a safe and secure way for community members to share important information with police without the fear of retribution.”

The service also “removes all identifying information before police see it and there is no way to identify the sender,” authorities said.

Gurney said that the service could also be used for people to report possible overdoses.

“Due to the opiate overdose epidemic, we are hoping that the Tip411 system will offer an alternative for people who may know of others that may need help with their opioid addiction,” he said. “We are also offering an alternative for young people, who do not want to formally contact police with regard to their friends that may be experiencing drug addiction and other issues.”

Gurney said anyone with questions can get more information by calling 201-327-2400.

Read the full story from NorthJersey.com

Interview with Delhi Township: Part II

tip411 interviewed Chief Jim Howarth of the Delhi Township Police Department in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is part two of our three-part conversation.

PART II

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
tip411 has been well received by both my officers and our residents. It’s one of the best things that have happened to us – We can’t be everywhere all the time, but we have 30,000 residents that have eyes that can help us find things. It could be that 1 tip or call that solves a string of burglaries, and we need our residents help as much as they need ours.

When I took over as Police Chief in 2008, others before me didn’t think they needed to share information with the public. I think people need to know things do happen in Delhi, when they happen, and not wait a week to see it in the paper. We need to inform the public and push information out to have them help us solve crimes as they are happening, and we are doing that now thanks to tip411.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
When we put out surveillance pictures to try to identify who suspects are – whether it be for a theft, assault, armed robbery – there’s only 1 case I can remember where we’ve NEVER received any tips. All of the other hundreds of cases we’ve asked the public for help on we’ve received tips and were able to identify the suspect.

Literally within 5 minutes we’re getting tips with information. It’s tremendous as far as being able to recover property and hold criminals accountable.

One case I can remember was when we put out information after an elderly gentleman left his card in an ATM. We saw that the person that came to the ATM after him grabbed the card and then we traced that it was used at a nearby supermarket shortly thereafter. We put the suspect’s picture out around 7pm and 15 seconds later the clerk in my office asked me if I sent an alert. I told her I just hit send and she told me we had already received a tip from someone telling us they saw the alert, looked at the image, and realized it was a former coworker of theirs.

I don’t put out tons of stuff because I don’t want people to get tired of it, but I use it when we need to and it’s always been a great help. I also like to do follow up posts to let people know we were able to identify the suspect and solve a crime thanks to their help.

The only negative thing I’ve heard is…if we were to get rid of tip411, a lot of residents would be upset. Luckily, if we ever lost funding, I’m confident I could go to outside sourcing like business associations in our community because they love it and I’m sure they’d help us fund it.

Q: Your department also partners with Crime Stoppers. Can you talk about how you use Crime Stoppers and how tip411 can augment it?
A: They’re very similar in nature. Crime Stoppers give rewards out and for the most part tips that come through tip411 we don’t give out rewards. Sometimes while communicating back and forth through tip411 we realize the tipster may have good information but aren’t giving it up easy, so continue to get information we will say, “hey, if this pans out and we make an arrest, we will reach out to Crime Stoppers and get a reward for you.”

Most tips we get are coming in anonymously through tip411. I say anonymously but many people are comfortable putting their name and number in the message they send to us as well. More come through tip411 than via phone, but it’s a good mix.

Some people, I understand, are hesitant to contact police because they think there may be retribution for sharing information with us, but we have a community that wants to help and they do – dramatically. With tip411 there’s much less “us vs. them.” Residents now feel like they’re a part of the department.

 

Check back next week for the third and final part of our conversation with Chief Howarth. Missed Part I? Click here to read it.

Allentown police hope new app will help cut down on crime

The Allentown Police Department is leaning on technology to help them catch criminals.

On Wednesday, city leaders unveiled a new app that’s a first in our area.

The Allentown Police Department hopes the new app will help cut down on crime and keep people safe. The app pushes out alerts about what’s happening and even lets you send anonymous tips right on your phone.

“We can send alerts to the entire city. Our captains can send out alerts to their areas,” said Allentown Police Department’s Assistant Chief Gail Struss.

Here’s how it works:

Just download the app, called “Allentown PD,” for free from the Google Play Store, iTunes App Store or the Allentown Police Department website.

Then look for crime alerts, or click tip and send information about cold cases or missing people. You can add pictures and videos too.

All tips are anonymous.

“I can respond to you but I have no idea who you are nor can I ever find out who you are because that information gets scrubbed before it ever gets to us,” Struss said.

Read the full story from WFMZ-TV and watch the report below:

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.

tip411 Newsletter – March 2017

Did you know there are many ways to improve engagement with your community using tip411?

Read our March 2017 Newsletter for 5 simple ways to get started today.

Police department rolls out new tip alert system

The police department and Mayor Stephen Zanni are launching a new tip alert system to help improve public safety in the city.

The system, tip411, is an interactive way to keep the community connected and informed through email, text message and online public safety alerts. It will also allow the public to report crimes and other suspicious activity directly to police by sending anonymous text messages or submitting tips online or through the Methuen Police Department app.

“In a society where technology and media are so prominent in all aspects of our lives, we believe this new app will only help to increase our connection with our community members,” Chief Joseph Solomon said. “We have worked hard to notify, educate and respond to our citizens in all regards, and tip411 is another resource that helps facilitate this process.”

To use the system, residents can register to receive alerts from the police department via email or text message by signing up online. Or, they can download the Methuen Police Department app. It is through this app, developed by tip411, that residents can share anonymous tips with police and officers and respond back.

Read the full story from the Eagle Tribune