FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A new community-based, anonymous reporting tool created by a local activist group and Fort Wayne’s Gang & Violent Crimes Unit is now online.
SAM, or “send anonymous message,” allows citizens to report tips and send videos and photos, without including the sender’s IP address. JAVA or Justice Accountability Victim Advocacy created the site after members met with the Gang Unit in April, according to Amy Davis, one of JAVA’s founders.
People use the P3 tipline provided by Crime Stoppers and the Gang Unit, among other FWPD departments, follows up on those tips, Detective Matt Foote, a Gang Unit officer, said Monday.
“I think the more people are willing to provide information. They may not trust a certain tip hotline but this one they may feel comfortable with because it’s coming from JAVA and they may trust JAVA. Anytime we can obtain information, anyway we can, then the community wins. We can follow up on tips and we can solve crimes,” Foote said.
Anonymous tipsters are asked to go to the JAVA website at www.javafw.org, click on the SAM icon, write up the tip and send. The JAVA business card and JAVA social media also provide a QR code that can be scanned to access the JAVA website. So far JAVA’s social media outreach includes Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
“You don’t have to put your name, you don’t have to put your phone number, you don’t have to install an app. There’s nothing that is going to tie it back to you. It’s going to go to the police department to alert them. You can tell them about things that have already happened, tips that you think are going to happen like ‘oh this funeral is going to get shot up,’. Anything you want to alert the police about,” Davis said.
When the police receive the message, the message looks like it’s coming from JAVA and it doesn’t record the sender’s IP address. The FWPD has a dedicated mailbox where the email is directly sent.
“We met with the police department, some of the guys and gals from the Gang & Violent Crimes Unit, and they told us they needed an anonymous way for people to report tips and this would hopefully help with crime prevention, but also crimes that have already happened,” Davis said.
“If you’re in a dire emergency, do not replace it for 911,” Davis said.