See a crime and want to report it? There’s an app for that.

In recent years, as people have taken to texting and e-mailing more than calling and talking, police departments have tried to evolve along with the public.

One of the newest features in crime fighting is the smart phone app.

One popular app among local departments is MyPD, which was developed by a Peabody police detective. The free app allows users to not only get news and alerts from the departments, but also to submit tips and take pictures of crimes or vandalism and report them directly to police.

 

Departments including Chelsea, Everett, Malden and Wellesley are participating in the app.

Cambridge recently joined as well.

“A few years ago, the big thing was that everyone was texting,” said Dan Riviello, a Cambridge police spokesman. “Now the big thing is everybody is using apps, so we want to be in that space as well.”

Riviello said it costs Cambridge less than $1,000 a year to participate in the app because they did not have to develop it.

While police said the app is another way to receive information from their “greatest law enforcement resource” — the public — it will not be a replacement for 911.



How it works

Cambridge police have recently added an app to the department’s arsenal of social media tools.



Users can chose to submit a tip through the app and then select one of 10 categories including bicycle issues, bullying, drugs, graffiti and traffic.

Users can include their contact information if they want (the tips can be confidential) and can submit a picture, GPS location data and a description.

The message is sent to the department’s deputies, who can alert police to respond immediately if the issue requires it. The messages are also sent to specialized units depending on the category. For example, heads of the drug unit will directly get alerts on drug tips.

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