Can a mobile app solve crimes and save lives? The Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) thinks so.
The department is reminding students in the Sweetwater Union High School District that they can report crimes and warn of potential threats anonymously on their phone.
The mobile app was rolled out in the district earlier this year. Already, an anonymous tip led to the arrest of suspects involved in four burglaries. The tipster even got a little cash.
It’s called the Kids Speaking Out Program using a mobile app called P3 Tips. Anyone can download it on their Apple or Android devices.
The app lets users enter information anonymously, including photos and video. It has been in use for a few months, but officers want to remind students and parents about the tool as the new school year begins.
The reporting process is run by Crimestoppers and law enforcement assesses the threat and acts on it if needed.
Police say students can report bullying, drugs, burglaries, or if a student has brought a weapon to school.
and all the other crimes that might happen at schools. The app can also be used to let officials know if a fellow student is thinking about taking their own life.
“Last year in Chula Vista, we had 3 suicides. So with this application what we hope is that we can reach out to those kids and say ‘hey, if you or a friend is feeling down, don't just let that go to the wayside. Let us know,’” Officer Matthew Davison said.
The CVPD says most people aware of the app now heard about it through word of mouth, so this year they're making a bigger push to inform families around the district.