Become an environmental crime stopper

News and analysis by Dan Telvock, Investigative Post's environmental reporter

Polluting a stream and getting away with it?

Violating the Clean Air Act without detection?

Now, anyone with a smartphone can help bust abusers of the environment.

New York State Crime Stoppers announced a new phone app that makes it very easy for people to instantly report environmental crimes to the appropriate agency.

Cellfare created the app in collaboration with Crime Stoppers, Waterkeeper Alliance, state police and local law enforcement agencies across the state.

Not only is there an “Environmental Tip Submit” button, but users can also send tips of other criminal activity, such as robberies and assaults.

I just downloaded the app and gave it a test run. You can take a photo of the incident, whether it be a polluted stream or a robbery in action, and it is automatically sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency in less than a minute. The app says that video submissions are coming soon.

Once you submit a tip there is a button that allows you to check its status.

Users can also find the closest police department based on their location, send phone and email tips and communicate with Crime Stoppers through social networks. There is a group of highlighted cases with cash rewards for tips that lead to an arrest and indictment.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance, said in a prepared statement that the app will make environmental crime a priority in New York.

“Whether it’s visible smoke from a power plant stack or illegal discharges into a waterway, citizens can take a picture on their smartphone and dispatch it instantly to an appropriate law and environmental enforcement agency and to Waterkeeper Alliance,” he said.