Manitowoc County Crime Stoppers adds new online tool to submit tips

MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- Manitowoc County Crime Stoppers is adding a new tool to its crime-fighting efforts.

It’s rare for people to go anywhere without their smart phones these days and it’s that attachment that Manitowoc County Crime Stoppers want to tap into this month. They’ve now added P3, which allows witnesses to submit tips online or through an app while remaining anonymous.

“Once a tip was received, we get an email,” said Lt. Jason Jost with the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office. “The tip is forwarded to us from P3 and we take it and distribute it accordingly to which agency would be responsible for acting on it.”

Here’s how it works—you can either visit P3Intel.com, go to crime stoppers through the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office website or download the P3 app on your smart phone. Once you fill in the location, you can submit your tip by filling in the blanks.

Lt. Jost said it will not only speed up the process for receiving tips, but also make it easier for witnesses to submit them anonymously.

“Our understanding is that in Sheboygan, their notifications went up 10 times on information they receive (by using P3),” said Jost. “Not sure what to expect, but we’ve gotten some tips the past few days and it’s proving to be beneficial so far.”

Green Bay Area Crime Stoppers has been using the P3 technology for 3 years now and the program manager said the numbers speak for themselves.

“The year we changed over from TipSoft to P3 we were just short of 700 tips. The following year we had over 1,000 tips and right now, on average, 70 percent of our tips are coming from P3 system,” said Hans Lux, Green Bay Area Crime Stoppers.

Lux said P3 is quick, easy and allows for better follow ups.

“Once a call or tip comes in through the call center, we can’t follow up. The information is not saved and the call is not recorded so the anonymity ends there,” said Lux. “But with P3 we can have dialogue back and forth because it’s encrypted both ways… we have had cases on tips where we had 4 pages of dialogue between the tipster, law enforcement and ourselves where we were able to come to successful conclusion.”

“It is something that is interactive. They can send a tip and we can reply and communicate with them,” said Jost. “If we need additional information about a suspect or license plate, we can get that from them directly.”

It also allows tipsters to attach photos and videos to help in the case.

“For example, when a drug deal is going down, we have had movies submitted to us showing the entire drug sale taking place,” said Lux. “So it’s quite a tool, it’s a great technology tool we can give to law enforcement to solve those cases.”

“Our hope is people will become confident in the system… and we will be able to solve crimes we haven’t yet or be made aware of what is happening in and around neighborhoods,” said Lt. Jost.
P3 also allows anonymous tipsters to follow up on their tips through the app, which is something they couldn’t do via a phone call to crime stoppers tip line.

As a reminder, Lt. Jost wants to reiterate that P3 should not be used in place of 911. If there is an emergency, call 911. P3 should be used as a supplemental tool to provide additional information to law enforcement officials.