The Chicago Police Department's revamped website, ChicagoPolice.org, allows for online crime reports, anonymous tips and investigation help.
Residents can now register a bike, report a property crime, file a complaint against or compliment for an officer on ChicagoPolice.org. On the more interactive site, officials said they will post surveillance videos of some unsolved crimes online and ask for the public's help in sharing it on social media.
"It's not just our site, ChicagoPolice.org, not just a facebook presence, but it's our followers presence, their followers presence, so it becomes this exponentially powerful tool to share," Commander Jonathan Lewin said.
After some recent sexual assaults, video posted on the CPD Facebook page generated 80,000 hits and helped with two subsequent arrests. Tips can be anonymous.
"So you submit the tip to our website but it goes to a third party, a secure encrypted service provider recipient site and they send it to us," Lewin said.
The revamped site also allows reporting of some non-violent crimes and electronic filing of compliments or officer complaints. For the first time the site is viewable on mobile platforms with a hope for more communication and crime solving
"Our young people do not like discussing info on the street cause that'd be considered snitching and that's a huge issue among the peers of youth," Sgt. Daniel Allen, 11th District CAPS, said.
The police department pledges that online property crime reporting and anonymous tips are not destined for an electronic black hole. Officials said they will be followed up.
There are skeptics and mistrust, but the CPD hopes sharing crimes caught on tape will find a wider audience through social media and lead to more crimes solves.