Using a Smart-Phone App to Report Crime Tips

The Dallas Police Department is using smart-phone technology to take the classic neighborhood crime-watch idea to the 21st century.

The Dallas Police Department launched a tech-oriented program to encourage young adults, who usually don’t partake in neighborhood crime-watch groups, to be more active in reporting crimes and tips. In addition to submitting information via website, phone calls and texts, residents can also use a specially designed smart-phone app, as a part of iWatch Dallas, to submit tips to police officials. The Dallas Morning News reports that the program itself is modeled after a similar one in Los Angeles, Calif., launched last year to collect reports on terrorism-related suspicions. But iWatch Dallas expands on L.A.’s program by inviting residents to report a variety of offenses including auto crimes, gangs, prostitution, burglary, narcotics, swindling and fencing. A nonprofit organization supplied DPD with just over $10,000 to fund the development of the program’s smart-phone app. No additional funds are required to run the program, as the reported tips are sent to and sorted by DPD’s intelligence-gathering and analysis unit.

Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
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