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NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2009
2 pages
This report describes the development and features of Project TIPLINE, a free Internet-automated tip collection, management, and analytical tool.
The impetus for the project was the sniper shootings in Metropolitan Washington, DC, during 3 weeks in the fall of 2002. Over this period, the police agencies in various jurisdictions where the shootings occurred received thousands of tips. In the aftermath of this crisis, authorities held a symposium to discuss lessons learned during the investigation. A consensus emerged about the need for a sophisticated automated tipline system that could sort and analyze tips as they were received. The development of Project TIPLINE involved consultation with police agencies in three jurisdictions across the Metropolitan Washington region. In the final stages of development, researchers tested the system at the Moss Point Police Department in Mississippi. Funding for the system was provided by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ). Northeastern University conducted the research phase of the project in collaboration with George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. Researchers developed the TIPLINE software and handbook. The software application increased the efficiency of tiplines by receiving and automating tips quickly, followed by an analysis of the tips for patterns that would be useful for the police in their investigations. The handbook provides information on how agencies can prepare for critical incidents, and examples and suggestions are provided for a variety of operational activities. The free software was released in August 2008, restricted to government agencies. Tipsters can go online and type in information through an agency Web site. Persons who do not have access to the Internet can call in a tip, which is then entered into the database by an officer or dispatcher.
Date Published: May 1, 2009