Report a Crime? There’s an App For That

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The Eau Claire Police Department is offering an iPhone app that allows citizens to report crimes and suspicious activity.

The citizen watch has just entered the 21st century in Eau Claire. Now residents equipped with iPhones can fill out criminal complaint forms wherever they are in the city. Community Relations Officer Kyle Roder says it is a cool new tool for the department. “We can’t be everywhere at all times and we really rely on others to help us out and this app should help with that.”

Roder says residents often report suspected drug activity and other strange goings on, but unfortunately, they usually do not catch license plate numbers or good descriptions of suspects. He says the iPhone app has an option to send a photo with the report. “What this will do is it will assist them in being able to take a photograph of that license plate, being able to take a photograph of that car and then we in turn can use that as a lead in our investigation to develop that into something more.”

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iPhone apps often use GPS to track the location of the phone and photos can include information about the phone and the user. Roder says the Eau Claire police that information will be available to the company that developed the app but not to them. “That data would be something that they would have and if it came down to it I would imagine that, through a court system, subpoena that information if it was something that was urgent and necessary but it’s not something that’s readily available to us.”

Eau Claire police say they have not gotten any tips yet through the new app, but it is up and running.

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