New app lets Chula Vista students report threats, crime

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CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- At a town hall meeting Monday evening, officials discussed safety at Chula Vista schools and introduced a new tool that allows students to speak up about threats and other crimes.

Hundreds of parents packed a room at Chula Vista High School to hear from Sweetwater Union High School District officials, city officials and police officers in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school and a subsequent wave of threats to San Diego County schools.

Authorities also introduced an app, P3 Tips, that allows middle and high school students to anonymously provide tips to Crime Stoppers about threats or crimes affecting their schools, including weapons or violence on campus. All tips that are submitted are vetted and investigated and, as with Crime Stoppers, there is a reward involved.

"Once you download it and you encounter situations that you think that police should know about, you can do an anonymous tip," said Sgt. Joe Picone, a school resource officer with Chula Vista Police Department. "We still want students to go to teachers and campus folks but if they're afraid to for any reason, we encourage them to use this app."

Parent Molly Alfarro said she thinks the app is a great idea as long as there is follow through.

"And if we don't put those things in place, it doesn't matter if our children are using that app to be able to document and say it," she said.

Adrian Ontiveros, a junior at Chula Vista High School, said almost daily, he sees something on campus that would allow him to use the app.

"Every kid at least has a phone. You can download the app and just tell somebody. I feel like that's a good idea," he said.