New anonymous crime tips app launches for Alaskans
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Department of Public Safety announced its release of a new smartphone app that will allow Alaskans to submit anonymous tips and view alerts.
The agency says it has received more than 50 tips on cases from those involving drugs to sexual assault.
The AKtips app will remove all identifying information before law enforcement views any tips, according to a department press release, which also noted that troopers will be able to respond to tips if needed.
“The Alaska Department of Public Safety is committed to protecting Alaskans across our state and making our state a safe place to live and raise a family,” said DPS Commissioner James Cockrell in the press release. “We believe our new AKtips app and website will help greatly enhance our ability to deliver on our mission by engaging Alaskans to help report crime tips and information securely to law enforcement.”
People without a smartphone can also send an anonymous text tip by texting AKTIP to 847411. Anonymous web tips can also be sent through the department’s website.
“It’s a pretty powerful tool, it gives a part of the community that was maybe hesitant to report a crime for whatever fear of repercussions or they just didn’t want to lose a friend or upset a family member or something like that,” said Lt. Scott Bartlett.
Troopers say this service is mainly monitored during regular business hours and when the tips come in the ten full-time administrators send the tips out to the troopers who need to know about them. Executive Director of Victims for Justice Victoria Shanklin said it’s a great resource to have.
“The more tools that we have the better,” she said. “(In) rural communities it’s particularly important people have an easy, accessible, anonymous way to support, because we know that’s a concern in certain areas. We see that all the time. And so the more access the better as long as we are able to keep up that ... I think it’s going to be positive for communities to access.”
The release reminded people that the app is not a replacement for calling and reporting emergencies to 911 or non-emergencies to local trooper posts.
The app was funded through a Department of Homeland Security grant and developed by Tip 411.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include additional information.
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