Crackdown on Crime: Be your own detective - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Crackdown on Crime: Be your own detective

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A crime victim shares with us the apps she used to solve her case. A crime victim shares with us the apps she used to solve her case.
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Property crime tends to increase around the holidays. You can take action now to make sure that if you are the victim of a crime, you can get your stolen belongings back.

Katy, a college student at UNCW who doesn't want us to use her last name to protect her identity, said she had to be her own sleuth when she became the victim of a crime.

Someone broke into her car when she lived at the Colonial Parke Apartments.

The suspects threw her school books out in the rain and stole her iPad. When she discovered the crime, she called police.

"There wasn't much they could do as far as fingerprints or evidence processing," Katy said. From there, the case got cold, but not for long.

The evidence to crack the case came from her new iPad. On it, she found

Katy replaced her stolen iPad with a new one and on her new tablet, she found pictures of people she didn't recognize.

"They were doing selfies with a stolen I pad and uploading it to my iCloud," Katy explained.

She didn't deactivate her iCloud when her iPad was stolen which meant the pictures of the suspects were stored there.

"It was shocking to be sitting there looking at these perpetrators and thinking oh my goodness, these people are sitting there with my stolen property!" Katy exclaimed.

Even with that evidence, police didn't know who took the iPad.

"Unfortunately, the facial recognition software that you see on CSI doesn't exist on a local level," Katy said. "So, unless they could recognize the people, they were out of luck."

So, Katy started investigating her own crime. She started to look into how she could find the people in these pictures. She found an app called Koredoko. It gave her the GPS location of where each photo was snapped. She handed the info over to police who caught up with the suspects.

"I understand the police probably did everything they could to help me, but it wasn't enough," she said. "I figured I would do what was necessary to solve the crime and do it myself."

And she advises others to do the same.

"Be your own advocate. I really had to push people to help me," she said. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO AND DOWNLOAD

If you have an iPad or iPhone, activate the "Find my iPad/iPhone" feature.

Also, make sure your information is backed up on the cloud.

Experts also recommend you use a password on your device to keep a crook from being able to use it if it is stolen.

Katy recommends the app Koredoko, it is free and can be downloaded here.

OTHER APPS THAT CAN PROTECT YOU

Crime Push: This award-winning app is free. It allows users to send distress messages to emergency contacts with the push of a button that are GPS tagged. Other options allow users to trigger a siren to ward off attackers and to attract help. With this, you can also report crime to local law enforcement, with GPS embedded image, video, audio, and crime tip descriptions.

North Carolina Department of Justice Sex Offender Mobile App: This free app makes information from the state sex offender registry mobile, using GPS information to map where offenders live wherever the mobile devices goes.

Family Tracker: This is a GPS tracking application that allows you to track the location of Android and Apple iOS devices. Using this, you can keep track of where your children are, sending a "stealth ping" to get the location of the device. The cost: $4.99.

American Red Cross First Aid app: This can be used with both iPhones and Androids. The simple step-by-step instructions guide you through first aid scenarios if you are in an emergency.

ALDF Crime Tips: Using this free app from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, you report abuse and neglect of animals in your community. The tips will immediately alert your local law enforcement when animals are in need of help.

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