Thousands of people are using an app to send police tips (and get cash rewards)

Thousands of people are using an app to send police tips (and get cash rewards)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A smartphone app that accepts anonymous tips on unsolved crimes has been around for years, but only recently has Honolulu CrimeStoppers been urging people to use it.

It’s called the P3 Tips app.

“The app is completely free. We have it on the iPhone platform as well as the Android platform,” CrimeStoppers coordinator Chris Kim said.

After Kim began promoting the app in media bulletins a year ago, tips on the system soared from around 1,200 in 2017 to about 2,700 last year. And it’s helping investigators.

One case involved a murder suspect.

"We were actually able to receive tips via P3 which gave us that location of that suspect. We forwarded that information and the suspect was able to be apprehended," Kim said.

HPD officer Glenda Gomes-Cabras oversees app submissions.

She said many of the tips come from students in middle school and high school.

“They tell us about kids vaping in school or contraband or fighting,” she said.

Kim said a recent incident reported by a student via the P3 app involved a suspected sex crime.

“Once they investigated they found that the tip was valid,” he said. “Three students were arrested for sexual assault in the third-degree.”

The P3 Tips app is easy to use and users can transmit additional information besides text messages.

"They can also download pictures, videos, any information documents to the P3 app," Gomes-Cabras said.

CrimeStoppers also gets tips over the telephone and on its website. All tips are anonymous.

Utilizing the smartphone app’s quickly becoming a popular method.

"For some people they just find more comfort in just inputting the tip as opposed to talking to a live person," Kim said.

The app assigns a number to every tip that the submitter can track.

In 2017, Honolulu CrimeStoppers handed out $37,725 in rewards for tips that led to arrests.

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