CH police join iWatch Northeast Ohio
The Cleveland Heights Police Department has joined the iWatch Northeast Ohio mobile crime-watch program. The iWatch Northeast Ohio mobile phone app was launched by the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center on May 13 and is available for the Apple, Android and BlackBerry operating systems.
Through the app, residents can report suspicious or criminal activity directly to police in real time using their mobile phones, tablets or computers. Residents can send text, photos and video. The tips are encoded so that they automatically remain anonymous, however, users have the option of sending police their contact information if they choose.
“IWATCH is another tool that helps bring the police and the residents we serve closer together in solving crimes and problems that are occurring in the city,” said Jeffrey Robertson, Cleveland Heights police chief. “Coupled with our Meet Your Police program, Twitter and Facebook pages, and the Community "TIP" line, 216-291-5010, there are many new ways that residents can reach us.”
The program is not a replacement for calling 911 in an emergency, but is meant to provide an additional way for residents to share information with police. Residents can also sign up to receive alerts about severe weather, school closings, power outages and crime.
The Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion Center was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security [and] the U.S. Department of Justice to gather, receive and analyze crime data in Northeast Ohio.
“As the site continues to evolve, we will be able to send information directly to residents that have downloaded the application and chosen CHPD as their department," said Robertson. "The key with these initiatives is community participation. The more residents are aware of these outlets and use them, the better the results will be. Communication between the police and the public is imperative for success.”
In an e-mail, Susan Infeld, mayor of University Heights, said that she had not been aware of the program. Calls to the University Heights Police Department were not returned as of press time.
For more information and to download the free app, visit www.iwatchneohio.com.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.