Students can submit tips to Public Safety using app

By on February 12, 2016

Sometimes, it seems that next to anything could happen on a college campus. If a situation gets out of hand, Public Safety may need to be called in. One way to get in contact with Public Safety is TipNow.

TipNow is a phone app where people can make anonymous tips to authorities. To use the free app, the user first has to indicate where they are reporting from. After that, they must pick a reason from a list of 10. Then, the user can give a description of what’s going on and can add pictures and video before submitting the tip.

“It seems like something that could be useful, especially in the [spring semester]; people tend to get wild and everything,” freshman Mendel Johnson said. “And it seems like a pretty good method of contacting [Public Safety] to report stuff.”

When a user sends out his or her report, it is sent to Resiligence (the company that owns the app), and then is redirected to whatever personnel are in the area, Lt. Don DiStefano, who is the director of investigations and administrative services for Public Safety, said.

TipNow also guarantees users’ anonymity through encrypting their cellphone number, according to a press release from 2009, which also announced Quinnipiac’s subscription to the service.

DiStefano understands some people might be more comfortable being able to report on incidents if they have anonymity.

“There are some people that might not say something if they have to come [to the Public Safety office] and identify themselves. That’s just human nature… maybe they’re not sure… but they still have a hunch, and those people might not report…if they didn’t have this way to report.” he said.

Freshman Colleen Cribley said her suitemate once had a bad experience with drugs and Cribley had to run to the Public Safety office for help. In the future, Cribley would consider using TipNow if something else were to happen.

“In that situation, we had to do it in person, ‘cause they had to come to our room…but given other circumstances, I would rather be anonymous, because no one wants to be a snitch, “ she said

DiStefano said use of the app fluxuates between no activity to a few tips, but is used regularly.

However, he said the app is sometimes misused, with people submitting things that might be more appropriate for a Facilities work order.

DiStefano said there has been education on how to use the app through Public Safety and Student Affairs, and with “self-explanatory” posters on the campuses.

Still, there are some students who haven’t heard of the app. Freshman Andrew Robinson thinks there are ways that Public Safety could use to inform students about it.

“Maybe [they could] hold a meeting with students on campus somewhere, or like, inform the RAs, ‘cause if the RAs knew about it, they could send it through email to tell the students about the app.” he said.

Graduate Student Nicole Lussier is one of Quinnipiac’s RAs. She only first heard of the app six months ago from seeing the poster on campus. Lussier understands that there is good sentiment behind the use of TipNow, but questions students’ sense of responsibility, drawing comparisons to students using social media

“Yik Yak went completely off the charts because it’s anonymous. Anything [that’s] anonymous, it gets taken advantage of. … You have no name towards [the post]. Social media in general is…getting to be outrageous, people are taking advantage of the way they can talk online, through a screen. Make it anonymous, it’s ten times worse, “ she said.

As well, Lussier feels that Public Safety is too passive with promoting TipNow, saying that if someone would come to an RA meeting to explain the app,, then they could tell their residents about it.

Lussier is also not a fan of the poster used to promote it, which DiStefano says is provided to the school from Resigilance.

“It’s not catching anyone’s attention. There’s a girl with her phone out wither her phone out, which is a phone from 1990, Like, how is that appealing at all?” she said.

Even still, DiStefano feels TipNow has been helpful with informing Public Safety about things going on at QU

“[TipNow] really helps the campus community take an active role in their own safety,” he said.

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About Matt Grahn

Staff Writer, Journalism Major, Political Science Minor