East Lyme Police are looking to tap into people’s smartphone use by launching an app to help fight crime.
In the next week, people will be able to download the East Lyme PD app. Just like a news or weather push alert, people will soon be able to get East Lyme Police alerts in the palm of their hands.
"Anyone who has our application has the ability to view it, to respond to it, to add information to it and that comes to us anonymously," East Lyme Police Chief Michael Finkelstein said.
The new app, produced by 411Tips, allows people to submit tips, pictures, videos and help with cases police are actively working on.
On Tuesday, officers got more than 100,000 interactions on Facebook looking for a package theft suspect. Finkelstein said this can help reach even more people in real time. If someone responds to an alert, their name and number won’t be attached to it.
"People are reluctant sometimes to post things on walls or to call the police department," Finkelstein said.
Residents will even have the ability to text cops anonymously. Something Melinda Graus, owner of Gumdrops & Lollipops Candy, Ice Cream & Diner, said she would have done yesterday.
"I was a little nervous about the store being closed and the kids riding around on their bikes. They had their bikes up on the deck. I ended up calling the police yesterday to have them keep an eye on the store," Graus said.
People who live in East Lyme said they’d download the app and use it.
"If you can just push something on your phone and take a picture of it and send it right off without a lot of interference, I think it would be a good idea," Vic Weltig of East Lyme said.
Hamden Police recently rolled out the Tip411 service. New London Police have implemented the tip texting part of the system for the last four years.
Finkelstein said he’s also been talking to departments in Texas and Wisconsin to gauge how well the app works.
But this is not a replacement for 9-1-1. Finkelstein said if you see crime happening in front of you or there is an emergency, still call police.
Officers hope to have the app officially launched by the middle of next week.