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Va. launches crime reporting app

Friday - 12/6/2013, 3:12pm  ET

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Major Rick Jenkins, Virginia State Police deputy director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, speaks about a new mobile app that allows the public to report crime as they see it during a press conference at Potomac Mills Mall Friday. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. - It's a busy time of year at shopping malls, airports and at holiday celebrations taking place across the area and it's also a prime time for thieves.

But police in Virginia have launched a new crime-fighting tool so the public can take action.

Virginia is now the third state in the country to launch a mobile safety app that turns smart phones into crime-fighting devices. It's called "See Something, Send Something."

The other two states that use the app are Pennsylvania and Louisiana. The new free app works on both iPhone and Droid devices.

Major Rick Jenkins, Virginia State Police deputy director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, announced the launch of the app at a press conference Friday at Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge. He was joined by other area law enforcement officers and representatives from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

"If you see something suspicious, snap a photo with your smart phone and send it to us. If you can't send a photo or don't want to, then text your tip," Jenkins says.

He says the app is a 21st century version of the telephone crime tip line and he says all information is confidential.

" We're only as good as the public sharing information with us, to be quite frank," Jenkins says. When citizens download this app and send tips, that multiplies the efforts of police.

A 30-second public service announcement about the app began playing Friday at all AMC and Regal movie theaters in the Northern Virginia area.

To download the app, visit www.vsp.virginia.gov.

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