Citizen’s arrest? There’s an app for that

December 11, 2011 by  

A Peabody police detective has created a smart phone application which enables citizens to report suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhoods.

Peter Olson, 34, who earlier this year launched a start-up technology firm called Wired Blue, has invented MyPD, an app for Androids and iPhones which enables citizens to take pictures of crimes in progress, suspicious behaviours or report public safety tips and send to police headquarters. Peabody and Chelsea were the first police districts to utilize Olson’s new technology, with other Massachusetts PD stations joining in the new year.

MyPD also enables users to leave anonymous tips and download frequently used forms such as accident reports and permits.

According to Olson, the tips about acts of crime and violence have been rolling in.

“It’s all about policing and saving money,” said Olson. The application costs Peabody taxpayers approximately $600 to $1,000 a year. The district will discontinue the previous Text-A-Tip program, also an anonymous crime reporting system, which was $4,000 a year.

New law enforcement districts that will launch MyPD will soon begin an advertising campaign to promote the app with posters created by local print companies, featuring scannable QR codes which will give Android and iPhone users immediate access to the free application.

“What we’re trying to do is get information to the public in the easiest way possible,” said Paul Shastany, chief of police in nearby Stoughton, who is promoting the application in his district. Police in Boston have also showed interest in MyPD.