By Adam Farence
TREDYFFRIN >> For over a year now, Tredyffrin’s police department has been using a special smartphone app to obtain anonymous tips from the public to find and arrest criminals with outstanding warrants.
The app, called Crimewatch, allows police officers to disseminate information about a crime, a description of the suspect, what he or she is charged with, the type of warrant issued, and a picture of the suspect if one is available.
Crimewatch CEO Matt Bloom heavily stressed the anonymity, saying it helps people reach out to the police without fear of retaliation from others who enforce the mentality “snitches get stitches.”
“There’s a need for people to safely and anonymously submit tips back to law enforcement,” he said.
Tredyffrin Police Superintendent Anthony Giaimo said “we saw it as something with huge utility.”
This app, according to Giaimo, helped police arrest Vincent Devalia, a suspect wanted by the West Chester Police Department for an alleged connection with a stabbing in West Chester in October.
Tredyffrin police put information about Devalia on the Crimewatch mobile app, and police started receiving tips which led to Devalia’s arrest.
Crimewatch also allows law enforcement to push information out on other websites and social media, such as Facebook. This further increases Crimewatch’s potential audience, and the potential of receiving a tip leading to an arrest.
Valley Township Police and Coatesville Police have also expressed interest in using Crimewatch.
Anyone using the app is not restricted to a certain area, they can look at crimes posted by any police department covered in the app.
This, according to Bloom, has helped police apprehend suspects who fled far away from the scene of the crime.
Law enforcement agencies in Lancaster County use Crimewatch as well.
“People felt so much more connected and aware,” Giaimo said. “This has filled a space previously empty.”
To contact Daily Local News staff writer Adam Farence, email email@example.com, or call 610-235-2647.
By Adam Farence