December 20th, 2012: Mechanicsburg's CrimeWatch US gives law enforcement a tool that Joe Friday would have loved
Thursday, December 20th, 2012 Elise Vider
Not long ago, when a Pennsylvania rental agent googled the name of a prospective tenant as part of a standard background check, what should pop up but the Adams County sheriff's portal, revealing that the woman had an outstanding warrant. The agent submitted a tip with her alias, cellphone number and other information from the rental application. Case closed.
That portal is the product of CrimeWatch US, a Mechanicsburg startup that has developed a software platform for law enforcement agencies that incorporates websites, social media and email alerts.
CrimeWatch "provides the means for local law enforcement agencies to disseminate information to the public quickly and efficiently," says the company's Andrew Santiago. "And it enables law enforcers to gain intelligence back from the community."
CrimeWatch began in 2009 as a print publication; in 2011 it moved into digital delivery. Besides Adams County, another early client is Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers.
The software platform also can establish a standardized record management system that gives law enforcers a more efficient way to share information internally or with other agencies.
"We're working in an environment where there hasn’t been a lot of technological innovation in the last five or 10 years," says Santiago.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA invested in CrimeWatch this fall and the company continues to raise seed capital, Santiago says. Its plans for 2013 include the launch of a new software version with increased features and functionality and a new portal for Dauphin County, both in February. The company currently has six employees and hopes to add six to 10 in the New Year.