DPS launches new app to report suspicious behavior

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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) A new way to cut down on crime in Texas- all done through an app on your smart phone.

The Texas Department of Public Safety announced the launch of their new app iWatchTexas on Friday. It’s hailed as an easier way for the public to report tips on suspicious activities that could be tied to current or future criminal activity.

Sherman resident Shelby Thompson has worked with kids for the last few years. She said she could see herself using the app to report creepy behavior.

“Me personally I would be like there is a creepy guy outside of Walmart,” Thompson said. “Police, please look out for him.”

But as far as younger people reporting potential crime, she’s not quite convinced it will work.

“There’s like a stigma on tattle-telling,” Thompson said. “Which is what that would feel like. Even though you’re helping. It’s not like an information getter. It’s a giver. And they lie. So, I’m not sure.”

DPS said the iWatchTexas program was designed to connect communities and law enforcement and developed at the direction of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, with cutting down on school safety-related threats a top priority.

“This new tool will give everyone the ability to quickly and easily communicate with authorities and help prevent future tragedies,” Abbott said.

And the agency is well aware of the potential of false reporting with the app.

They reminded the public that false reporting to a law enforcement agency is a violation of state law with news of the app’s release.

iWatchTexas is available for I-phone and Android users. Each confidential report takes less than five minutes to complete. From there, each one is reviewed by law enforcement analysts.

Examples of suspicious users could report include: people making comments about killing or harming someone, purchasing supplies that could be used to make bombs or weapons or taking photographs or videos of security features.

DPS said the new app is not designed to report actual emergencies and people should still call 911 if there is any immediate danger.