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Reporting Crime in Virginia? There’s an app for That

By Potomac Local News December 8, 2013 12:53 pm

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Photo: Mary Davidson

Photo: Mary Davidson

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Virginia State Police on Friday chose Potomac Mills mall as the backdrop to announce their new “See Something, Send Something” mobile phone app.

The phone application available for iPhone and Android allows users to capture suspicious criminal activity via a photo or a written text message that is sent to state police directly from the phone app. It includes information on what to look for when reporting suspicious activity, but it is not meant to replace the traditional 911 phone service, according to officials.

Virginia now joins states like Pennsylvania and Louisiana that are already using the app. Virginia State Police on Friday said December is one of the busiest times of the years in the state at malls, airports, highways, and other public places where the app might be useful.

Here’s more in a press release:

The photograph or information submitted by a citizen 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. 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.

The app provider, My Mobile Witness, uses patent-pending privacy protection software for safeguarding the integrity of tips and citizens’ personal information. 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.

To help encourage Virginians to download and use the app, a 30-second public service announcement has been produced and is available for viewing/download at vsp.virginia.gov.