The Gahanna Police Department is seeking residents' help in fighting crime.

The Gahanna Police Department is seeking residents' help in fighting crime.

The e-mail address,, is a newly implemented program designed to facilitate an exchange of crime tips and information between residents and Gahanna police.

The e-mail address will be maintained by the detectives bureau and monitored by Lt. Tom Basso, Sgt. Monty McCormick and Detective Kevin Hoffman.

According to Hoffman, the goal is to provide a medium by which tips and information about crime could be reported anonymously directly to detectives and provide an efficient means to distribute information to members of an "e-mail tree" regarding crime trends and suspect information.

"All e-mails will be kept in the strictest of confidence, and all e-mails will be read," Hoffman said.

Because of the expected high volume, not all e-mails will receive a response. E-mails containing information pertinent to current investigations or information leading to a new investigation will receive a response.

"We are in the information age," Deputy Chief Ken Bell said.

Bell said he receives complaints several times a day, as does police Chief Dennis Murphy during his monthly civic-association meetings. When asked if residents have contacted the police department, the answer typically is no, Bell said.

The only way police officers could respond to crime is if residents contact the department, Bell said.

"This lends another medium for providing us the information we need to go out and fight crime for the residents of the city of Gahanna," he said.

Bell said the e-mail address is for non-emergency purposes only. If a crime is in progress, residents should call the police department immediately at 342-4240 or 911 if it is life-threatening.

Hoffman said the more people in the e-mail tree the better. Not only can the department receive tips, but officers also could send information to residents concerning criminal activity.

For example, if numerous cars were being broken into in the Royal Manor subdivision or several burglaries were occurring in a subdivision, police officers could notify residents via e-mail.

"That quadruples the amount of eyes that we have out there," Hoffman said.

Cars are broken into every day in Gahanna, Hoffman said. Sometimes the break-ins are clustered in particular neighborhoods whereas others are more random, he said.

Hoffman said every city has a lot of vehicle break-ins, and Gahanna has had a lot over the past several months. Officers work surveillance, follow suspects and sometimes put valuables in a car and sit and watch.

"It's like digging a hole in the sand," Hoffman said.

The best way to prevent theft is to not leave valuables in the car, Hoffman said.

Hoffman said the more residents provide an e-mail address the better the program could work.

"I will take all of the e-mail addresses that I can get," he said. "The more people that know, the more people who can look out for a certain car or something."