Can your smart phone make you safer in the City of Syracuse? Mayor Ben Walsh joined members of the Syracuse Police Department to roll out new technology to help reduce crime and improve community relations. You might have a phone app to find your way around or get a ride, maybe check the weather or play a game. Deputy Chief Joe Cecile wants you to get another app for community benefit.
“Nothing makes it safer, nothing assists with quality of life (more) than collaboration and communication between the residents who live there and the police department. And that’s what this TIP 411 is going to allow us to do. We’re going to roll out an app that allows us to communicate and dialogue with the residents throughout the city with everything from crime down to public relations-type events.”
People can download the app on I-Phone or Android smart phones. Mayor Walsh says it can add some eyes and ears to the police on patrol.
“You may notice a suspicious vehicle in your neighborhood; you may have a vacant house in your neighborhood and you notice some suspicious activity around there, and knowing that I can just pull out my phone. I can submit a tip to the police department. The functionality to include a photo is really useful. So having the app on your phone makes it convenient.”
Tips sent through the app are anonymous. Authorities say that makes it more useful than texting, where people fear consequences of giving police information. Police can also use the app to send messages to people about crimes that are going on in their neighborhoods.
“First you’re going to have neighbors becoming more aware. They’re going to start watching what’s going on in their neighborhood, not just for their own house, but also for their neighbors on either side of them. Secondly, they may become more aware about securing their windows. And thirdly, one of the neighbors might see this alert and think, ‘I see this red car parked on my street and somebody gets out and he walks away and he’s gone for a couple of hours and then comes back; here’s the license plate number’.”
Police already had an online tip portal; Cecile says they received 1200 tips last year on everything from larcenies to murder investigations. You can search ‘Syracuse Police’ to find the app. The system costs $7900 dollars per year to operate and monitor; Cecile says the money all comes from crime seizure funds.