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Point Park University now offers members of its community a way to anonymously send secure messages to campus police through a free smartphone app, whether it's information about crime, drug use, bullying, hazing or other suspicious activity.

ChiefDeveloped by tip411, the Point Park police department tips app puts a powerful new safety tool into the hands of students, staff and faculty.

For Jeffrey Besong, assistant vice president of Public Safety and the chief of police at Point Park University, the app is the latest in a series of safety additions to campus over the past year, including body-worn cameras and the heroin antidote Narcan. Besong is a finalist for the 10th annual Campus Safety Director of the Year Award, a national recognition he has received for his innovative and proactive approach to campus safety.

Point Park University Public Safety Department was named to the 2016 Safe Campus Top 25 list for its efforts to improve campus safety.

"We have always given a hard look to any tool we can add that will help deter criminal activity on campus and in our area of Downtown Pittsburgh," Besong said. "This app offers a fast and simple way for people to reach us directly with concerns and problems."

Communication via the app is 100 percent anonymous, and Point Park police instantly receives the messages via text and email. The submitter can engage in a two-way conversation that remains anonymous, as the app removes all identifying information before officers see the tips.

Point Park is the first University in the region to partner with tip411 - a web-based toolset used in more than 1,400 communities across the United States - on the smartphone app.

"The tip411 system has been successful in communities across the U.S.," said Terry Halsch, president of tip411. "We are excited to partner with Point Park as one of the first Universities to use the new school edition of our innovative tip411 app to directly connect and engage students, faculty and staff."

The tips app provides access to University information, websites, social media channels and more. It can be downloaded for free via the Google Play store, iTunes app store or on the Point Park website.

More About: Downtown Pittsburgh, Public Safety Department