County hopes you’ll fight crime with your phone
NORRISTOWN PA – An $8,000-a-year investment in a smartphone app is one more way Montgomery County hopes to put a stop to crime within its borders, county officials announced in Norristown. Release of the “STOPit” mobile app, which makes it easier for residents to quickly and anonymously report crimes or offer tips, is intended to coincide with tonight’s (Tuesday, Aug. 7) National Night Out observances.
County District Attorney Kevin Steele on Monday (Aug. 6) urged residents during a press conference to install the app on their smartphones and “anonymously text your tips about any type of criminal activity as easily as you send a text to a friend.” Photos and videos also can be attached to texts, he said.
- STOPit is available now and can be downloaded free from the App Store for Apple smartphones, or Google Play for Android models. It is activated for Montgomery County by entering “MONTCOPA” as the access code.
Each crime tip, if requiring an emergency response, goes directly to the county 9-1-1 Communications Center for immediate dispatch of police or firefighters. Non-emergency information will be routed to the Montgomery County Detective Bureau for vetting and distribution to appropriate law enforcement agencies to handle, according to information distributed by the county.
Promotional material suggests its manufacturers, STOPit Solutions of Holmdel NJ, anticipate the app will be most useful in helping citizens show and report incidents of drug dealing, active crimes, suspicious activity, violence or threats, and weapons.
Another component of the app, called “STOPit Messenger,” allows users to have a real-time, two-way, anonymous talk with law enforcement. Dispatchers can ask questions about a report, and ensure they have information needed to act on a tip.
The cost of the app is being covered by a federal Homeland Security grant obtained through the county Department of Public Safety, county Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh said.
National Night Out, Tonight
National Night Out, an annual event to support law enforcement agencies, neighborhood safety, and community cooperation, will be observed Tuesday in western Montgomery County:
- In Pottstown, from 3-8:30 p.m. on North Washington Street between Chestnut Street and Rowan Alley. Sponsored in part by the Victory Christian Life Center, it offers a free chance to learn about community agencies and what they offer; to play games, dance to music, and get some exercise; and also to enjoy a hamburger or two.
- For Royersford, Limerick, and Upper Providence, from 5-8 p.m. in the 300 and 400 blocks of Washington Street, Royersford. It includes first responder displays, local businesses and vendors, community mental health organizations, churches, non-profits, and other organizations. The free event also offers opportunities to sample local foods, win prizes, and play games.
Photo from Montgomery County; logo from National Night Out