There's a new way to help fight crime in Cook County. Hint: There's an app for that.
Cook County Crime Stoppers recently launched a smartphone app that allows residents to anonymously send tips to police about illegal activity. Users can still call in a tip, but they also can send photos, videos or text messages.
The app debuted about a month ago, and Crime Stoppers Chairman George McDade says, so far, it's working.
In the first couple of weeks, the organization received photo tips that helped solve crimes, especially drug cases. In one case a woman was lying on the floor and using the app to contact police while a shooting took place outside, McDade said.
The app also led to tips about homicides and missing persons cases, he said.
That's not all it's capable of doing, though. It also can locate the nearest police station to make a report or use as a safe haven. Crime-of-the-week cases can be viewed along with photographs of wanted felons. There's also access to media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
Chicago has high hopes for the app, McDade said, pointing to cities like New York, Denver and Toronto that also use the app. Toronto's version became the second most downloaded, he said.
Crime is definitely on the minds of Chicagoans. President Barack Obama addressed city gun violence in a speech last week at Hyde Park Academy.