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New smartphone app lets you tip-off Syracuse police

Ellen Abbott

The Syracuse Police Department is trying to use technology to get more people to tip them off about criminal activity. A new smartphone app for Apple and Android phones, called SPD Tips, is now available. It allows people to anonymously contact police directly with a tip. It goes along with the 411 tips link on the department's website, according to police Chief Frank Fowler.

"In law enforcement what we look to do is load up our tool boxes with things that we can do to assist us in doing our job, and  I think this 4-1-1 is an effective tool, and it will ultimately help us out in the long run,” Fowler said.

Fowler said it makes sense to use the technology because of  the proliferation of cell phones.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News
Syracuse Police Chief Frank Folwer

“It’s a great way for people to communicate," Fowler said. "And, they can remain anonymous in their communication with us. And once people become comfortable with it, I think they’ll start to use it a little more.”

Individuals with a cell phone can also send an anonymous tip to the department by texting tip 411. Fowler said the smartphone app and the tip 411 link on the department’s website add to the tools that police need to get help solving crime. Developers of the technology say it’s been successful in other communities across the country.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.