MANCHESTER -- Police in Manchester have a smart phone app people can use to submit crime tips and receive localized alerts.
Manchester Police Chief Michael Hall said the app, "MyPD" was created by a Massachusetts company called Wired Blue. It's available on iPhone and Android smart phones and can be downloaded by searching "My Police Department" or "MyPD." Once downloaded, the public can find the Manchester Police Department's page.
Hall said the department pays $500 to appear on the app but its use is free to the public.
More than 24 features can be made available, but Hall said for now all of the department's Facebook and Twitter posts go through it. Crime tips can also be submitted, anonymously if a user chooses, and alerts can be sent out for things like road closures, school delays, and anything else the department feels the community should be aware of such as crime or stray wildlife.
The app lets subscribers choose what alerts they wish to receive.
Public feedback can also be given through the app, Hall said. The app has been available for a few months but he does not know how many people use it.
He said he feels the app will become especially important as the community becomes more vexed by crime. Hall said in recent years he feels the crime rate has increased significantly not only in Manchester but Vermont as a whole. He suspects drugs are at the root of the problem, as many crimes are low-level, unsophisticated larcenies. People have been stealing things they can easily convert into cash while ignoring larger, more valuable items.
While crime tips can be sent in anonymously, Hall said it's more useful to the department if there is a name attached. This allows for easier access to search warrants, which can solve cases. Hall said he expects people will become less reluctant to leave their names as more are affected by crime.
Hall said he also hopes the app, and the department's social media presence in general, will give the public a better idea of how police have to operate and how they address problems within the community.
Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.