SHERIFF GARCIA CREDITS FREE PHONE APP FOR CRIME BUSTS
Houston TX – IWatch Harris County, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office smart phone app, has collected 1,000 non-emergency crime tips from the public and led to arrests for illegal drug possession and distribution, illegal firearms possession and other crimes in its first year, Sheriff Adrian Garcia announced on Friday.
He made the announcement outside a northeast Harris County apartment complex where suspects who were the target of an anonymous tip made through the app were arrested on charges of drug and gun possession. A 3-month-old child at the residence was placed in Children’s Protective Services custody.
Through strategic partnerships with community leaders and businesses, the HCSO is encouraging every citizen within Harris County and beyond to download and use the mobile device application to report suspicious activity. Almost 9,000 people have already downloaded the app.
“As a business owner, I see the advantage of introducing the application to my customers so they can be equipped with an app that is for their safety and that of their community,” Scott Aronstein, president of Connectivity Source, a cell phone provider, said. “I-Watch Harris County is very innovative technology for the cell phone industry.”
Through the app, anyone can anonymously report suspicious or criminal activity they witness, as well as access crime information in their area. The application is free and can be easily downloaded to any smart phone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) through the application market, by texting 469-759-0998 to receive a download code, or by visiting http://iwatchharriscounty.com.
“If we are going to be the leading law enforcement agency in the country, we have to be using technology of the 21st century,’’ Sheriff Garcia said. “People are no longer communicating through phone calls; we are communicating through text messages.”
“I encourage every citizen who sees something to say something and text something to I-Watch Harris County,” the sheriff said. “Let the brave men and women of the HCSO take your tips and turn them into arrests so that we can keep our neighborhoods safe.”
Tips received from app users have led to at least 14 arrests and have created or enhanced other investigations.