The Baltimore Police Department relies on information from residents to solve crimes. Most people want to keep their identity off the record, when they submit crime tips. They also expect the process to be quick and easy.
On Monday, the Baltimore Police Department launched a mobile app that will provide a reliable and confidential platform for submitting crime tips, receiving alerts and perusing other department information. The mobile app referred to, as “one stop shop” will offer a convenient access from residents to the police department.
Residents will be able to submit anonymous tip and engage in dialogue with a specific police officer through the app. Tips related to nonfatal shootings and homicides will receive top priority, as the app will be monitored constantly.
After the Department launched a new anonymous text-to-tip line, tips increased by 174 percent in 2016 over 2015. Baltimore Police Department officials are hoping that the community will respond to the app in the same manner.
The app features a state’s court records page and city crime data. Users will also be able to access the Department’s Twitter and Facebook pages, along with the official website.
The app is available for both iOS and Android devices and was developed by Mobile PD, a company that has worked with nearly 100 agencies across the nation and in Canada. The cost for the app was $10,000, with a two-year subscription for an additional $20,000. After the subscription expires, the Department will continue paying Mobile PD $15,000 a year. Additional fees are charged to display the app in the Android and Apple app stores.
However, there are concerns about the Android version of the app prompting the user for permission to access their location, images and other data. The Department assures residents that this process is only normal for mobile apps.