“The fundamentals of investigating and solving a crime haven’t changed,” said Major Rick A. Jenkins, deputy director of the VSP Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “But, keeping the public engaged with us through the crime-solving, tip-sharing process has evolved and now so have we. This app is simply the 21st century version of the traditional telephone crime tip line or hotline.”
The application includes information on what to look for and when to report suspicious activity. "The app does not replace 911 and should not to be used for someone needing immediate police action or to report an emergency," Jenkins said.
Virginia is the third state in the nation to adopt the app. The service is already available in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
The information submitted via the app goes to the Virginia State Police for review and analysis. "If the tip is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation or incident, then it will be forwarded on to the investigating law enforcement agency," Jenkins said. "If the tip is unfounded, then the information provided, and the name and phone number of the tip’s provider, are permanently deleted. There is no archiving of tips or collection database."
app provider, My Mobile Witness, uses patent-pending privacy protection
software for safeguarding the integrity of tips and citizens’ personal
information," a VSP press release said. "The system allows law enforcement to engage citizens
without tracking one’s location or storing personal information.
Submitted tips are immediately removed from the mobile device and purged
from the My Mobile Witness system once delivered to the Virginia State
Police for analysis."
See Something, Send Something® Mobile App Fact Sheet from the VSP
Who receives my tips? Tips are routed through a network of State Police organizations and state offices of homeland security and preparedness.
Will somebody send police? No. If you require immediate police action or other emergency services dial 9-1-1 or, to reach the Virginia State Police, dial #77 on your mobile phone.
Does the service work throughout the country? Yes, geo-tagged tips are routed to the appropriate participating law enforcement agency or intelligence center.
Does the App actively track me or my location? No. Photos and notes are geo-tagged only at the time of submission. The app does not actively track your location or movements.
Can I remain anonymous? All information associated with your tip submission will be protected and kept strictly confidential by law enforcement. If information you submit warrants additional investigation, it may be forwarded to the appropriate investigating agency on a need-to-know basis.
Will somebody contact me? The system allows citizens to act as additional eyes and ears in the fight against crime, suspicious activity, terrorism, etc. In rare instances, law enforcement may contact you for additional information if your tip is deemed of high value or connected to an ongoing investigation.
Why is the picture or note removed from my phone after I submit a tip? This is done to protect potential evidence and proper chain of custody. If you submit a tip of high value the appropriate the participating law enforcement agency retains the only copy.
Can I save pictures to my library before submitting a tip? Can I recover pictures or notes after they are sent? No. The app does not allow for a photo to be attached and sent.
Does Virginia allow an app user to receive alerts? Not at this time, but is a service being considered as a future possibility.
Is there a cost associated with using the service? While there is no charge to download or use the See Something, Send Something application for Iphone and Android users, standard data rates apply. Check with your carrier regarding data plans, options and rates.
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