TYLER — Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith Thursday announced a new tip411 smartphone app available through iTunes, which allows citizens to anonymously send crime tips and receive alerts from the sheriff’s office via the Internet and their cell phone. The Internet portion of the system was launched in July. The new smartphone app extends the program to many mobile devices. CitizenObserver tip411 (tip411) is an Internet-based program that Smith says has proven effective in many major U.S. cities by teaming citizens with law enforcement via a confidential and anonymous communication technology using a smartphone app, the Internet, and text messaging.
According to a news release, the technology that powers tip411 removes all traces of a person’s identity or contact information before the message or tip is delivered to department personnel. To download the app in iTunes, type in “SCSOtip” in the search window. “We have received a number of very valuable tips over the last few months because of this program. It allows those who otherwise might not be willing to come forth to provide their information and remain completely anonymous,” said Smith.
According to the sheriff, anyone with access to the Internet or an Internet-enabled cell phone can easily send a tip by using a specific keyword through the tip411 smartphone app or by texting the information to tip411 (847411) and using the keyword SCSOTIP. Anonymous tips can also be submitted through the sheriff’s office website at smith-county.com/so and clicking on the tip411 icon.
The new program includes The Smith County Alert Network, an opt-in alert messaging system that is available via email, text messaging, or web-published notifications. Those who are interested in receiving the alerts can sign up by clicking on a link on the sheriff’s office website. Subscribers can also respond to the sheriff’s office anonymously by clicking on the Submit a Tip button located in the alert. Reserved exclusively for public safety purposes, tip411 is a software service made available through CitizenObserver, a St. Paul, Minnesota company.