The Monmouth County Chapter of the Crime Stoppers non-profit organization is expanding on ways residents can anonymously submit tips that can help the prosecutors office and local police help solve crimes.

You've always been able to call Monmouth County Crime Stoppers with an anonymous tip (and you still can at 1-800-671-4400) but you can now submit information in a text on the P-3-Tips app.

President of Monmouth County Crime Stoppers, Victor Ianelli, feels this will especially help in areas where people may have been afraid to speak up.

"I think people want to help law enforcement solve crimes and in many neighborhoods where there might be retribution for being a snitch, this allows them to avoid that visibility," Ianelli tells Townsquare Media News.

Ianelli encourages residents to submit information on any crime they witness or have knowledge of what happened.

"Whether it's a serious crime, like auto theft, or a major crime, like a murder," Ianelli said.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni hopes that increasing the ways which people can submit tips anonymously will encourage them to call or text in a piece of information that can help law enforcement solve crimes and conduct investigations.

"This gives these witnesses, people a way to share information," Gramiccioni tells Townsquare Media News. "Even if they're not witnesses and this is second or third hand information, it gives them a safe and anonymous way to share information for the benefit of their community."

The eyewitness accounts, first, second or third hand information is all important as investigators at the prosecutors office or local police conduct investigations and hunt for leads if/when the case goes cold.

"We need intelligence and information to help solve a lot of crimes in many cases," Gramiccioni said. "We can't always do it alone, we can't always rely on the fact that there might be a video camera or something like that."

Gramiccioni explains that the reason his office brought this national program to Monmouth County in 2013 was to not only open the door for anyone to submit anonymous tips but also provide ways for people in more urban areas who may be hesitant to speak up, an option to do so freely and without anyone knowing they provided information that can help law enforcement.

"What we were seeing in our areas of violent crime like Asbury Park, Neptune and Long Branch was a reluctancy by the public to share information with law enforcement and it could be a whole host of reasons for that, maybe fear of retribution, maybe a general level of mistrust with law enforcement but either way we thought it was a win-win for both the community and us in law enforcement," Gramiccioni said. "It gave them (residents) an outside independent agency (Monmouth County Crime Stoppers) where they can anonymously share information about on-goings in their community that could help in the investigation or prosecution of crimes."

Any leads that you submit with information to Crime Stoppers is tracked via a pin number to the National Center in Dallas, Texas (Crime Stoppers U.S.A.) and then finds it's way to where the report is coming from and is directed from there to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers who passed the tip to the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office and local law enforcement, all in an instant.

Whether over the phone or on the P3-Tips-App, (which you can find on Apple and Android devices), if your tip checks out and leads to an arrest or helps investigators charge someone responsible for the crime, you're offered a cash reward.

However, Victor Ianelli explains that most people don't collect it though, they just want to do the right thing and help get criminals off the street.

"Of all the rewards provided, only 10-percent have collected them," Ianelli said. "Most people are not interested in the cash reward, they're interested in putting away the bad guys."

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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