Residents of most Lancaster County municipalities can now interact directly with their police department via CrimeWatch, a digital information-sharing forum moderated by the officers themselves.
On Wednesday, District Attorney Craig Stedman announced that his office – and 18 law-enforcement agencies in the county – are up and running on CrimeWatch.
Chiefs and investigators from nearly all of those agencies were on hand for an afternoon press event where Stedman said residents can now get timely information about crime in their communities, as well as share information with those who police their towns.
Matt Bloom, founder of CrimeWatch, accompanied Stedman and the cops in announcing CrimeWatch’s mission: Provide a collaborative public-safety forum for the press, the public and the police. Surveillance photos from unsolved crimes, photos of wanted individuals are already being distribute via CrimeWatch. Terrorism alerts also will be disseminated through CrimeWatch, the DA stressed. Stedman hopes every department in the county jumps on board. And it’s all at no cost to the taxpayer. Stedman’s office provides the start-up funds from money collected in civil forfeitures – commonly, assets seized from known drug dealers. In return, residents can provide tips – anonymously, if they choose – directly to cops working the cases.
Todd Graeff, Manor Township police chief and president of the county’s Police Chiefs Association, called it “Facebook on steroids.”
Residents can find their department on www.LancasterCrimeWatch.org.