Crime app updated to keep city ‘cleaned up’

By Keisha Howerth

The DeKalb Police Department is looking to increase awareness for abuse and neglect of animals for the iWatchDeKalb app with its recent updates.

The iWatchDeKalb app added two categories users can report issues for: code enforcement violations and crime free housing.

The city’s code enforcement department reviews building standards and provides technical assistance to residents and contractors. The crime free housing department helps prevent crime on rental and residential properties.

Carl Leoni, Crime Free Housing and Inspection coordinator, said the app gives residents a way to help out the department if they see problems concerning property management.

“The app can be used for more than crime,” Leoni said. “It gives people the reminder to take care of their properties.”

Leoni said he has wanted to give app users the option to report neglected properties since iWatchDeKalb’s launch.

Residents don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable in their neighborhoods with the app’s anonymous reporting, said community relations officer Chad McNett.

“If a neighbor has garbage on their lawn, we can solve the problem without outing anyone,” McNett said. “We want to keep the city cleaned up and looking good.”

Police Chief Gene Lowery said the department has received a wide variety of information through the tips submitted through the app.

“We’ve been able to prevent a death because of a tip reporting a suspicious vehicle,” Lowery said.

Lowery said the tip helped the department give the person in need proper medical attention in time.

McNett said since the app’s launch in April, almost 400 crime tips have been submitted.

“We’re very happy with its success,” McNett said. “Several of these tips have ended with arrests.”

Lowery said the app can translate more than 30 languages and provides a good communication tool within the community.

“Someone who might be afraid of the police can report violations that risk the safety and health of the community,” Lowery said.