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The new mobile app allows residents to alert police about possible crimes. (Canadian Press )

It's billed as a North American first — a crime-fighting mobile app for smartphones to be unveiled Wednesday by Toronto police and the city's Crime Stoppers program.

The app includes interactive features that enable Toronto-area residents to alert police in real time about a crime or potential crime through photos, video, emails, text, and a button that autodials Crime Stoppers.

Const. Martin Douglas, Toronto Crime Stoppers youth and social media officer, says the organization receives over 200 anonymous tips per week.

He says many people who witness crimes often don't  report them for fear of being identified, but with this app, says Douglas, police and Crime Stoppers hope bystanders will "feel more empowered to be socially responsible and take action."

The app also includes a database of some of city's wanted criminals, social media updates and a GPS locator to nearby police stations.

"Whether it's schoolyard bullying, drug abuse or shootings, we need Toronto's residents to step up and help keep our neighbourhoods safe with information on criminal misconduct," said Toronto Crime Stoppers chairman Gary Grant.

"Ultimately we have a responsibility to look out for each other."