News

Victoria police mobile app first in Canada

Victoria police Const. Mike Russell poses with an enlarged version of the new VicPD mobile app, which allows residents to report crimes and receive alerts on their mobile phones. VicPD is believed to be the first police department in Canada to roll out an interactive app. - Daniel Palmer/News staff
Victoria police Const. Mike Russell poses with an enlarged version of the new VicPD mobile app, which allows residents to report crimes and receive alerts on their mobile phones. VicPD is believed to be the first police department in Canada to roll out an interactive app.
— image credit: Daniel Palmer/News staff

The Victoria Police Department is rolling out what’s believed to be the first interactive mobile police app in Canada.

MobileVicPD, available on Android and Apple devices, allows users to report minor crimes and traffic incidents, access neighbourhood crime maps and receive instant emergency notifications when police need public assistance.

“The use of mobile devices has skyrocketed and now dwarfs the use of personal computers,” said VicPD Deputy Chief Steve Ing, at a launch event on Wednesday at ViaTEC’s offices.

The app’s creators, Silicon Valley-based mobilePD, has seen business grow ever since it launched its first app with Santa Cruz, Calif., police department in 2010, said vice-president Jamieson Johnson.

“We’ve seen several of our customers find missing children and solve crimes,” he said. “We can’t wait to see that effect here (in Victoria).”

VicPD hopes to get 5,000 downloads this month, and eventually have 15-20 per cent of the population using the app. The goal is to free up police time for minor incidents and encourage more reporting of minor crimes, said Const. Mike Russell.

“If we see a certain trend, we can then focus our resources on those hotspots,” he said. The app could also be used to notify residents in case of a tsunami warning or in other emergency response situations in the future, Russell said.

Download the free app by searching “MobileVicPD” in your phone’s app store.

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