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New app lets anyone report crime

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With smartphones, tips, evidence go directly to dispatcher at APD

Crime fighting? There’s now an app for that – or at least one for local residents as the Andalusia Police Department announced Tuesday it is partnering with LiveSafe to offer a mobile app to report emergencies and anonymously report crime tips.

The app was designed by Kristina Anderson, a sophomore at Virginia Tech who was shot three times on April 16, 2007, when in less than 12 minutes, the gunman shot and killed 11 of her classmates and one of her professors.

Anderson believes that technology can save lives.

“If smartphone capability was as widespread back then, I probably would have seen an email, texts or pictures all pointing to this one incident on campus, but we had no prior knowledge anything was going on,” Anderson said during an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

It’s that instantaneous information that the APD wants to capitalize on, said Sgt. Jason Curry Tuesday. Curry said the app enables citizens to safely share tips, receive important emergency notification from law enforcement and gives them the ability to anonymously report crime tips directly to the police.

The app works via the Internet, meaning it can be used on smartphones and tablets alike.

Users can also anonymously record crime-scene audio, video and images tagged with GPS information for investigators and officials.

Once a user submits a tip, such as an accident, robbery or drug crime, the information goes directly to the APD dispatch center, which then dispatches help. Curry said the program also allows for push notifications, emails and voice, using either data or Wi-Fi connections.

“The public is the eyes and ears of the community,” Curry said. “The most effective crime control measure is the community and the police department working together. This app allows us to do that. For example, if you observe a suspicious person or burglary in progress in your neighborhood, use the app to report it. Snap a photo and send that in. That information goes to the dashboard in dispatch and becomes evidence.

“Say if you have a medical emergency and for some reason can’t call 911, use the app,” he said. “The call is GPS tagged, so it gives your exact location.

“The system was initially designed for college campuses, but we think it will be a great benefit to the people of Andalusia,” he said.

Curry said the APD is the first department in the state to utilize the program, which went “live” locally at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The app is free and available for download on the Apple iTunes Store and on the Android market “Google Play.”