Lower Saucon Township council members voted unanimously at Wednesday’s meeting to approve the purchase of a technology application called “Crimewatch” to aid the township’s police department in its fight against crime.
The Crimewatch website, developed specifically for law enforcement, allows police to share updates on topics such as missing persons and wanted individuals to their department page at CrimewatchPA.com. Following supervisor approval, the updates are simultaneously broadcast to media partners, social media followers, email subscribers and local officials.
Crimewatch has expanded exponentially since its launch in 2011, generating thousands of tips and helping to solve hundreds of cases, Demangone told council. In 2017, an official with the Bensalem Police Department told a Philadelphia TV news station that Crimewatch had led to six arrests in the first 10 days after its launch.
Lower Saucon Township Police Chief Thomas Barndt told council he found overwhelming support among his officers for Crimewatch and called buying the program a “win-win” because it will help the department solve crime and save time.
Council Vice President Priscilla deLeon also voiced her support for it.
“I think this is something other municipalities should consider, and especially the county,” she said.
When councilman Ryan Stauffer asked what Crimewatch provides that the township does not currently have, deLeon pointed out that the department only has to post an update once instead of in several different places, which will improve efficiency. Township Manager Leslie Huhn added that information can be more easily disseminated nationally, such as in a case where a local missing person is found to be in Florida.
The $2,046 to fund the program will come out of a township budget line item for software and licensing. The purchase is a one-year commitment and the cost could be reduced if Northampton County decides to use Crimewatch in the future.
The township will announce it once it goes live, which is expected to be sometime in July.
In the meantime, there is a free Crimewatch app for both Android and IOS that mobile phone users can download.
“I just think that it’s really going to be very helpful to our community and let’s hope we solve some crimes with it,” deLeon commented.
Lower Saucon Township is the first municipality in the Lehigh Valley to purchase Crimewatch for its police department.
Nearby, in Upper Bucks County, several departments are already using it, including Springfield Township, Richland Township and the Borough of Quakertown.