KOKOMO, Ind. — Since February, Kokomo Police have responded to four shootings in the city and two people have died.
Major Brian Seldon said that isn’t an increase in gun violence but it is alarming to see an increasing number of youth involved in the shootings.
”The problem is we are seeing a lot more gun violence involving youth now,” Seldon said. “It’s very disturbing when you see how many young people are involved.”
With each of these cases, Seldon said witnesses have been hard to come by.
”We need support from the community too, a lot of these crimes individuals don’t want to get involved,” Seldon said. “It makes it difficult to prosecute.”
It’s one of the reasons Kokomo Police are starting a new tip line. Seldon said the department is working with a company called tip411. It would allow people to submit anonymous tips, pictures, videos and more to police through an app.
”It allows our officers to actually communicate one-on-one with that tipsters to get more information if that is necessary,” Seldon said.
Seldon said they can also send out community alerts through the app as well.
”This will hopefully make those who know something, say something,” he said.
Doug Kouns, a former FBI agent and current CEO of Veracity IIR, a local investigation firm, said tip lines can be very helpful but can also be bogged down.
”Most of those tips that come in are not good tips,” Kouns said.
Some tips can also seem good but end up nowhere.
”If you got what seems to be a reasonable lead and spend a lot of time and resources tracking it down and it turns out to be bogus then you’ve wasted some time,” Kouns said.
Kokomo is hoping the tip line can help further connect the community to the police.
”If you see something, pick up your phone, take a picture, take a video and shoot that to us,” Seldon said.
Seldon said they are planning on rolling the app out in 30 to 60 days.
On top of the new tip line, police are also creating a new division to focus on drug activity and gun violence.
”It’s going to be a two man unit where we’re assisting our special investigation and criminal investigation team,” Seldon said.
He said that is still in the beginning stages of planning right now.