DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. - When a student at Haverford High School posted a photo of a gun on social media this weekend police arrived to that student's home to investigate before the rumor mill even got started.
Police responded within minutes and deemed there was no threat. The response showed the effectiveness of the "Safe2Say Something" crime prevention app being used by most Pennsylvania public schools.
"We received a Safe2Say information tip over the weekend which could have been very troubling and caused great alarm to a few people," said Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola.
The platform and hotline was developed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office allowing students, parents and teachers to submit anonymous tips to a real person 24 hours a day.
The tip is vetted, then passed along to local police and school districts.
"When something happens on Safe2Say usually the school will send out an email," said Gianna Brown a sophomore at Haverford High School.
Brown got the notification about this weekend's incident and believes the anonymous platform has been instrumental in helping kids report bullying and other life safety issues.
"It’s a great app to use especially if someone has fear of telling somebody or fear of having "snitch" pinned on their back," said Brown.
"I think they should continue to use it why not if it helped already, and it caught a kid already wouldn’t you keep using it," said parent Greg Williams.
Since the 2019 launch, the app has had over 56,000 tips submitted and is being used by more than 500 PA school districts. The top reasons why the app is being used according to the Attorney General’s office are for bullying and suicide. A spokesperson for the AG’s office says there is no telling how many lives it may have saved. Chief Viola says he's just glad the app is being used hoping it continues to catch on.
"They may have heard a rumor. Saw something on Facebook or social media may not be a fact but the best thing to do is to get it out there, vet it, so we can see it immediately and put it to rest or investigate it further" said Viola.
Students and community members can submit tips via PA’s website through the Safe2Say Something PA app, or via telephone at 844-Safe2Say (844-723-2729).