The City of Allentown Police Department is launching tip411, an internet-based tool that enables the public to text message an anonymous tip to police, and lets the police respond back creating a two way anonymous “chat.”
Tip 411 is a web-based application of Citizen Observer for receiving, responding to and managing anonymous web, text message and I-Phone generated tips. It was unveiled recently in front of a billboard advertising the service at 11th & Linden streets by Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Police Chief Roger MacLean. They were joined by Assistant Chief Dan Warg and Adams Outdoor Lehigh Valley Division General Manager Tony Cioffi. The system was demonstrated to those in attendance.
Anyone with a cell phone can now send an anonymous tip to Allentown Police by texting the word TIPAPD, YOUTHAPD or VICEAPD and the tip information to 847411 (tip411). Anonymous web tips can also be submitted right from the city’s website. It is 100% anonymous. The technology removes all identifying information before the Police Department sees it; so there’s no way to identify the sender.
“This new capability will help our residents play an active role in keeping neighborhoods safe, it will engage a younger demographic in the process, and it will save our agency time and resources,” Pawlowski said.
According to MacLean, this new capability reaches out to a younger age demographic that communicates sometimes hundreds of times a day through text messaging. “When someone may be afraid to come forward, or simply feels like they don’t want to get involved – this is a great way to get information to us without fear of retaliation.”
Pawlowski said, “We’re going to be distributing bilingual business cards with the text tip information on it in all city high schools and middle schools. The same information will be printed on posters. We know there are plenty of good kids out there who will take advantage of the opportunity.”
Links to information on how to use the text tip is available on the city website home page at http://www.allentownpa.gov and on the police department home page. It will also be added to the city’s iphone app.