Campus security app launched

Calvin Hall, patrolman for Point Park Police, holds a phone that has the new app to send in tips about suspicious activities

Written By Robert Berger, Co-News Editor

With the start of the 2017 school year, the Point Park Police Department is implementing an anonymous tip app to create a safer campus environment.

“I wanted to add another feature for faculty, staff and especially students,” Chief of Police Jeffrey Besong said. “I think it helps the students who don’t feel comfortable calling the police or getting involved.”

The “Point Park PD” app is designed to involve community in the crime solving process of the campus department. The app gives students the option to remain completely anonymous while filling out a tip. Students are given the option to include their name with the submitted tip.

“We are using the app in real time with our 24-hour dispatch, Besong said. Anytime a student submits a tip it goes to our dispatch, my cell phone, email and to other department supervisors.”

The app is developed by tip411, a system used across the country to include citizens in the law enforcement process. Point Park is the first Pittsburgh school to use the system as well as to launch a tip based security app.

“The tip411 system has been successful in communities across the U.S.,” Terry Halsch, president of tip411 in a press release from the department, said. “We are excited to partner with Point Park as one of the first universities to use the new school edition of our innovative tip411 app to directly connect and engage students, faculty and staff.”

According to Besong, other universities across the country use the service for investigative work, while Point Park will be using it for constant monitoring.

“I think the idea of an app is really cool,” freshmen sports, arts and entertainment management major Jacob Blankenbaker said. “You can’t be too secure these days.

The department also launched a texting service for students without smartphone capabilities. Tips can be sent anonymously by texting the keyword “PPUPD” followed by the tip to 847411. Along with the app, the texting service is kept completely anonymous. A third option is also available in submitting a tip online through the university’s website.

“It gives students a chance to inform the department what’s going on,” Besong said. “Most of our concerns have nothing to do with students, it’s just because we are in a large city.”

Along with the anonymous tip feature, the app includes a built-in camera to send a photo or video along with the written tip. Previously submitted tips are stored locally on the app in a tip list. Contact information is also included for reaching out to the department with emergency and non-emergency situations.

“I like that they’re making it an interactive experience and getting involved with the students,” junior cinema production major Zach Skeba said.

The app can be found for download on the Google Play and Apple App store by searching “Point Park PPD.”