When you suspect a crime, your first instinct is to call the cops. But if you hae to identify yourself, it might hold you back. In Brick Township, technology is muting those misgivings.

Brick Township's Tip411 App (Brick Township PD)

The department and Mayor John G. Ducey have launched Tip411, a web-based tool for anonymous notification that's also downloadable as an app for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Ducey acknowledged that fear of retribution prevents many people from helping an investigation. "This new tool," he said "allows them to report their safety concerns completely anonymously."

According to police, Tip411 erases identifying data before it reaches police eyes. It's produced by Minnesota-based CitizenObserver. Police say the company distributes Internet-based tools for law enforcement, public safety and education agencies in more than 40 states.

Chief Nels Berquist views it as a community-bonding resource. "Our goal with these technologies is to make Brick Township safer by strengthening our relationship with our citizens through improved communication, awareness and participation," he said in a prepared release.

Tip411 is in the App Store. Police also field information on their web page and their Facebook page.