DELAWARE COUNTY, PA – When a Haverford High School student posted a photo of a gun on social media over the weekend, police arrived at the student’s home to investigate before the rumor mill even began.
Police responded within minutes and felt there was no threat. The response showed the effectiveness of the “Safe2Say Something” crime prevention app used by most public schools in Pennsylvania.
“We received a Safe2Say briefing tip over the weekend which could have been very disturbing and alarmed a few people,” Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola said.
The platform and hotline were developed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, allowing students, parents, and teachers to submit anonymous advice to a real person around the clock.
The tip is verified and then passed on to local police and school districts.
“When something happens on Safe2Say, the school usually sends an email,” said Gianna Brown, a sophomore at Haverford High School.
Brown received notification of the incident over the weekend and believes the anonymous platform was instrumental in helping children report bullying and other life safety issues.
“It’s a great app to use, especially if someone is afraid to tell someone or is afraid of having a ‘snitch’ pinned on their back,” Brown said.
“I think they should continue to use it, why not if it has already helped, and it has already caught a child, wouldn’t you continue to use it,” said parent Greg Williams.
Since its launch in 2019, the app has received over 56,000 boards and is used by over 500 PA school districts. According to the attorney general’s office, the main reasons the app is used are bullying and suicide. A spokesperson for the GA’s office said it was not known how many lives it could have saved. Chef Viola says he’s just glad the app is in use and hopes it continues to gain ground.
“Maybe they heard a rumor. Seeing something on Facebook or social media might not be a fact, but the best thing to do is to spread it, to verify it, so that we can see it immediately and put it aside or investigate it further, ”Viola said.
Students and community members can submit tips through the PA website through the Safe2Say Something PA app, or by phone at 844-Safe2Say (844-723-2729).
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