CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - In an effort to be more accessible to city residents and to use newer technology, the Chicago Police Department is introducing another digital platform for citizens to report criminal activity, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
The website — cpdtip.com — is designed to be more user-friendly than its predecessor, TXT2TIP.
Unlike TXT2TIP, the new site will run smoothly on mobile devices and will not require any app downloads or text messages to be sent, according to Jonathan Lewin, chief of the CPD’s newly created Technology Services bureau.
“We hope that by making it more accessible, it will lead to more community engagement,” Lewin said.
The new system is not designed to replace calling 911 in an emergency, he added.
Motorola Solutions recently acquired TipSoft crime reporting software, and cpdtip.com will be the first crime reporting site designed by Motorola, Lewin said.
A representative from Motorola referred questions to the Chicago Police Department on Thursday evening.
Police officials said one of the main hindrances of TXT2TIP was a feeling by the public that, since they were reporting a crime with a text message associated with a phone number, they were never truly anonymous. About 1,500 tips were submitted via TXT2TIP every year.
The data submitted to cpdtip.com, though, will be stored on Motorola servers and not those of CPD, Lewin said.
Cpdtip.com will also allow for more of a back and forth between police and those reporting an incident.
“One of the things we really wanted to leverage was interaction with the community,” Lewin said. “This is a way we can directly connect with the public.”
When a user goes to the site, they are asked to select the type of crime and describe when and where it happened, as well as how they know about it. The user also is given the option to maintain anonymity. They also may add a photo or a description of any suspects.
That information submitted is then sent directly to the fusion center in police headquarters. From there, it is sent to the appropriate division, Lewin said.
A press conference is scheduled for Friday to announce the site’s full rollout.