App created to report tips to Crime Stoppers

When a wanted fugitive is spotted and a tipster wants to report it to Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers, now "there's an app for that."

A free crime tips application has just launched, allowing iPhone users to provide confidential information, including photos, to Crime Stoppers, law enforcement agencies and even school safety officers and administrators.

"People can direct their tips directly to us. It's just another tool," said Mike Blatman, law enforcement coordinator for Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers. "It's another way for people to contact Crime Stoppers (with) a shortcut."

Tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 586-8477, go online to tricitiescrimestoppers.org or sending a text message by writing "Text TIP 411" plus the message to CRIMES (274637).

The benefit of the iPhone app is that people don't need to know the number like they do if they're trying to call or text a tip.

The free app can be found in the Apple App Store by searching for TipSoft of TipSubmit.

The app lets users to provide any amount of information they want -- not limited to a certain number of characters like some text messages -- and can include photos. It also can use GPS to submit a location where the tipster is if they're relaying information about an in-progress crime.

Once a tip is submitted, a unique code is assigned which allows the agency or tipster to have a confidential conversation about the information.

Blatman said a version for Droid or Blackberry phones should be available in the future.

"It's great to see this new mobile product allowing the public to safely and conveniently communicate with their local Crime Stoppers programs," said Crime Stoppers International President Michael Gordon-Gibson. "It is innovation like this that helps keep Crime Stoppers relevant, effective and at the forefront of allowing communities to help the police in solving and preventing crime globally."

For more information or to view a video on how it works, go to TipSoft.com.