POSTED: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 3:24pm
THIBODAUX, LA (NBC33) — The way of doing business is changing at the Thibodaux Police Department and it’s an effort that includes the entire community.
“The National Crime Victimization Survey says that only about 41 percent of crimes are being reported,” Chief Scott Silverii explained. “That’s due to a variety of reasons. People sometimes feel apathetic, or they’re afraid they will be apprehended if they report something. Sometimes they just feel embarrassed. We’re working to bridge that gap and create more ways people can report crimes.”
The latest effort includes the launch of a mobile app.
“It’s part of our social media strategy,” Chief Silverri said. “Today’s generation is more inclined towards autonomous methods of communication, such as text or email. This allows them to be in contact with police on a platform they’re comfortable with.”
Very few law enforcement agencies have released mobile apps, which created a challenge when developing the concept.
“Originally we worked with our tech guy to develop our own app. Eventually, we reached out to a third-party vendor. We liked their product, but it wasn’t quiet what we needed,” Chief Silverri explained. “They worked very closely with us to make modifications that were custom for our needs.”
Some of those features on Thibodaux PD app include a sex offender registry list custom to the area, a list from the Sheriff’s Department that includes people who have been booked into jail, and a real-time crime map.
“We work with CrimeReports.com to have a visual representation of the crime that is happening in our area,” Chief Silverii noted. “This seamlessly integrates the data.”
But the greatest modification comes with the feature that Chief Silverii believes to be the most important.
“The app has a feature that allows you to submit a photo or video. The problem with the original format of the app was that you had to provide your name, address, and email to be allowed to submit the photo. That goes against promising anonymity to our users,” he said. “We worked with the vendor to modify the feature. Now, you can submit a photo or video without including any other information. The photo will include a geo-tag letting us know the location of where it was taken.
Any law enforcement agency will tell you that its greatest asset are the eyes and the ears of the community. Now, any person with a smart phone who has downloaded the free app can help assist police.
“If you’re at the scene of a crash, or you see someone parking illegally, you can send us a picture or video,” Chief Silverii said.
All of this, Chief Silverii noted, will bring his department closer to its ultimate goal.
“Our commitment is to make ourselves accessible to the community we serve. If this helps us close the numbers on the cases of victimization that are going unreported, that will go towards our ultimate goal. Whatever it takes to get that done, we’re going to give it a try.”
Over his past two years in office, Chief Silverii has taken a great number of strides to accomplish that goal. Click here to learn more about the changes that have been made.