Fight crime with a free app on your phone!

5:28 PM, Apr 29, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - It's the newest way to catch criminals.

It's so popular that Border Patrol agents use it, along with ATF and Naval Investigators.

It's all over the world.

This new crime-fighting tool is a new app for your phone called Tip Submit. It allows you to take video of a crime taking place, or even a suspect, and then send it to your nearest Crime Stoppers right there on the spot.

It's the first time tipsters have been able to do this.

So far, the largest agencies in the U.S. are utilizing it, such as police departments in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

Now, you can count the Bay area in there too.

Deputy Lisa Haber with the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office says, "When I first started 13 years ago, all we had was the phone and the 800 number and that was it."

Organizations like Crime Stoppers have been proven to work, and now they have an added bonus.

Case in point was a high school massacre planned in August 2010.  It was supposed to be another Columbine-style shooting. A young man who called himself a "time bomb" was planning a mass shooting, deputies say. It was stopped just in time after a student tipped off Crime Stoppers anonymously.

"Who knows what would have happened if we had Tip Submit back then. We caught the guy, but maybe it would have been even sooner," admits Haber.

Deputy Haber is the Crime Stoppers coordinator for Hillsborough County and is thrilled with this.  It works with iPhones, iPads and Android phones. It's the first time ever a person can send in video or cell phone pictures directly as an anonymous tip.

Deputy Haber said, "We now know everyone walking around with a smart phone has that ability to take videos because we see them all over YouTube. Well, now you can do something good if you happen to be taking video of a crime, you can send it to your local Crime Stoppers program."

It's a free app and incredibly easy to use.  In fact, it does all the work for you.  You just download the app and pick the closest Crime Stoppers to you. There's even a option to pick schools where a student can snap a picture and select a crime taking place from bomb threats to bullying.

Since Crime Stoppers is international, if you're on vacation in Barbados and see a crime, you can send pictures or video to the authorities there.

"There's an old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words," says Deputy Haber.

As always, you will be anonymous in giving your tips. When you text a tip, video or picture, the person on the other end will never see your phone number or name. Your phone number goes into a decoder and deputies only know you by a number.

To read more about Tip Submit, visit the Crime Stoppers website here.

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