Bridgeport Ct., Police
Launched in October, Bridgeport police say the iWatch Bridgeport app is the future of policing.
"In a city that has 143,000 people and 18 square miles, and 400 cops working 24 hours a day, this is the ultimate cop," said Lt. David Daniels III.
So how does it work?
"When you want to submit a tip, you open up a menu and it will give you the ability to give a detailed tip and if you want to send pictures you can send pictures and video," explained Lt. Daniels.
Once folks hit send, it goes straight to police. Residents remain anonymous, something police say makes people comfortable to come forward with information.
"People have this, 'I'm not going to snitch' mentality, which is really stupid, but this gives you the ability to report crime anonymously and you don't have to worry about any of that,"" said Lt. Daniels.
Police say it's revolutionizing the way they fight crime and they say it's working.
Someone who witnessed the New Year's Day homicide used the iWatch app to send police some crucial information.
"Right after that murder occurred we got an iWatch tip from someone who had to be in the area," said Lt. Daniels. "The information was credible, it's panning out and I think it will actually help us solve that crime."
This app gives residents the power to report what they see and hear in their neighborhoods.
"This is where I was born, this is where I was raised, this is where I live, and this is the place I love and I'm a cop," said Lt. Daniels. "You should always want to leave a place better than when you came. I think this app will give us the ability to do that."
To get this app go to the application store and download it. It's free and it's available in both English and Spanish.
Cops have high hopes for new app
iWatchBridgeport: Tool enables public to easily report crimes, submit tips
BRIDGEPORT -- City officials rolled out a new free smart phone application Friday that will make it easier to report crime and send in tips to the Bridgeport Police Department. The free app, iWatchBridgeport, allows users to send police pictures and video, as well as to text cops information about suspected criminal activity, anonymously if they wish.
"In a single click, it gives a citizen a chance to send in a crime tip," said Dan Elliott, who developed the application for his software company, iThinqWare. "And they can do it anonymously. It's a big difference from the way we did things the old way, and the way we do things the new way."
The mobile app was first used by the Dallas Police Department beginning in October 2010. Elliott said that in the intervening year, Dallas police received 1,600 crime tips and made 67 felony arrests because of people using the app to send in information. Since then, 68 other police and sheriff's departments nationwide, he said, have launched their own "iWatch" applications, including, Los Angeles; Duluth, Minn.; Harris County, Texas; Grapevine, Texas; and Orange, Calif.
Elliott, who lived in Trumbull years ago, said that he developed the app after his own brushes with crime. About a decade ago, the fiancee of his brother was murdered after her car mechanic broke into her home, and, more recently, he lost his wallet in a stick-up.
The app also tells police your location if you hit the "Call 911" selection if your phone has embedded GPS location data. Also, when you call in a voice message after selecting "Call Tip Line," the cops get a text version of your call.
It's available for the Android and Apple's iPhone. An application for the Blackberry phone will be available in a few days, Elliott said. In addition, it's possible to visit the iWatchBridgeport.com website and submit a tip in a similar manner by clicking on the "If You See Something Say Something" box.
Connecticut Post staffers tested the app on an iPhone, and found it easy to use.
Once the app is installed, there are five ways to report crime or call in a tip:
Users can also use the app to get instant notifications on their phones or by email on school closings, road closings, most wanted criminals and weather alerts.
The app was rolled out at a press conference that took place at Bassick High School in front of about 120 students and a dozen teachers. Officials said that getting high school students to download the app will go a long way to reduce crime in Bridgeport.
"We're one of the first police departments in the Northeast to get this," said Mayor Bill Finch, who took the opportunity to thank President Barack Obama and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-4, for securing grant funds to 40 additional police officers in the city, 20 of whom were inducted into force Friday night.
"This is a way for citizens to get involved in homeland security," said Police Chief Joseph Gaudett. "This is a way for us to create a relationship with people, especially in the high schools. We want to reach you where you are. Now, when you see something, send something."
Also speaking was state Rep. Ezequiel Santiago, who said that thanks to resident participation, crime in the city has dropped.
"When I was growing up 18 years ago, drug dealers were so bold that they would stop you on the street and ask you if you wanted to buy drugs or sell drugs," he said. "But the people who live here made the choice to start making the calls that they never made before. This application is another tool the we can use."
The mayor and Chief Gaudett credited Lt. David Daniels with discovering the app and recommending that the city use it. Daniels told the gathering that he ran across the iWatchDallas app while on a trip by reading the newspapers there.
"I wanted to make sure that Bridgeport was the first city on the whole Eastern Seaboard to get this application," Daniels said, a 23-year veteran of the force. "I immediately called Mr. Elliott, and I'm glad he's patient because I had a lot of questions."
You can reach John Burgeson at 203-330-6403 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow twitter.com/johnburgeson.
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