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Philly Police website averaging 500 ‘tips’ per month via website, have received 600 by text in 3 month launch [GRAPH]

In an attempt to make it as easy as possible for Philadelphians to reach out to the police with information about crimes, the Philadelphia Police Department launched two initiatives earlier this year: Text-a-Tip and the iWatch mobile app. We wanted to know: how are Philly’s tipsters responding to the technology? Since the beginning of the year, cops have […]

iWatch, the Police Department's mobile app for reporting crime tips.

In an attempt to make it as easy as possible for Philadelphians to reach out to the police with information about crimes, the Philadelphia Police Department launched two initiatives earlier this year: Text-a-Tip and the iWatch mobile app.

We wanted to know: how are Philly’s tipsters responding to the technology?

Since the beginning of the year, cops have received roughly 6,500 tips through various channels, according to department spokeswoman Karima Zedan: phone, the department’s website, email, text and mobile app. Here’s a breakdown of how often people use the different technologies, provided by Zedan. This is quantity not quality and based on very early numbers, as we explain more below, so see this as an early indicator and not the final word.

It’s important to note that iWatch and Text-a-Tip haven’t been around for that long. They launched in early and late April, respectively. So the current numbers can’t offer an accurate comparison of how often tipsters use the new technology.

Philadelphia police tip numbers

Since Text-a-Tip‘s launch in late April, the department has received about 600 tips by text.

From mid-February to August 1st, the department has received 2,389 tips by phone.

Since the iWatch app launch in early April, the department has received 47 tips through the mobile app.

As of July 31st, the department has received 3,251 tips through its website this year. This number includes emails.

Zedan says that last year, the department received more than 3,600 tips through its website. This year’s online tips are on pace to exceed that number.

Since iWatch and Text-a-Tip have only been available for a few months, as opposed to the department’s website and phone line, we used the data to create per-month averages for each category so it was possible to compare the numbers visually. Still, Zedan tells us that the website has mostly received more tips as time as gone by, presumably as more people find out about the service. Thus, the per-month average can be a little screwy, but it certainly helps to show early differences.

In short: the website tip line has overtaken the phone call, and text-a-tip is already averaging a couple hundred tips — some surely more valuable than others — while the iWatch app isn’t having the same impact.

The department is working on a system to track which tips actually led to an arrest and to identify where they came from (online, phone, etc.), Zedan says, but it’ll take some time. For now, these metrics are a volume game, but as tracking improves, Zedan says this will hopefully send the message to Philadelphians that their tips matter.

There has been recent media coverage about our city’s so-called “stop snitching” culture spurred by the tragic shooting of a 2-year-old girl earlier this summer. These articles from the Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia City Paper offer opposing takes on the incident.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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Comments

  1. NewsWorks Tonight Feature | Local Philadelphia News Aggregator / August 8, 2012

    [...] O&#965r partners &#1072t Technically Philly report th&#1077 department gets &#1072b&#959&#965t 500 anonymous tips a month through &#1110t&#1109 website. Phone tips fall slightly short &#959f th&#1072t, &#1072nd th&#1077 numbers &#1072r&#1077 even lower f&#959r th&#1077 relatively n&#1077w text-a-tip &#1072nd iWatch crime tip app submission options. [...]

  2. Philly Police website averaging 500 ‘tips’ per month via website, have received 600 by text in 3 month launch [INFOGRAPHIC] | Philly Police Blog / August 9, 2012

    [...] Article courtesy of Juliana Reyes, Staff Writer Technically Philly [...]

  3. Philly police business cards list Twitter accounts, city IT website doesn’t list email — Technically Philly / October 25, 2012

    [...] It’s been some two years of local cops rethinking their communication outlets, which they say is leading to new outlets for tips. [...]

  4. Innovations in Philadelphia Police IT: ‘electronic discovery’ system streamlines workflow with District Attorney’s Office — Technically Philly / November 6, 2012

    [...] engagement platforms. The department boasts 100 arrests via tips through its social media efforts, several new channels for submitting police tips including a mobile app, a mobile version of its website and even social media business cards. In [...]

  5. Philadelphia Police still use typewriters: successes, challenges and opportunities in city’s $7M, decade-long effort to upgrade police technology — Technically Philly / November 13, 2012

    [...] this month for a story on this]. Technically Philly has regularly covered the department’s use of web communication for earning leads on cases. As the City of Philadelphia goes, the Police Department is often seen as [...]

  6. City of Philadelphia seeks 2012 election feedback: submit online, via SMS or phone — Technically Philly / January 31, 2013

    [...] The Philadelphia Police Department has solicited information through various channels, allowing citizens to submit crime tips through an online form, email, text message, mobile app and phone. Check out the breakdown of how many tips were submitted through the various channels here. [...]

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