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New app from Finland takes crime fighting to phone screen

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Noisy neighbors and parking violators: beware. A new smartphone app being used in Finland allows reporting of nuisance crimes with a few clicks, and its developer has started to pitch its service to police services around Europe.

The company, Grafetee, on Thursday globally launched its free location-based tagging application for Apple and Google Android devices. The app allows users to bookmark locations and link data from services like Foursquare, Yelp, Flickr and Instagram to the sites.

So far, the police reports feature is available only in Finland where local police now monitor reports from the app.

Juha Huttunen, Grafetee's co-founder, said the app is mostly used to report disturbances such as noisy, intoxicated youth gangs. Finns continue to call the emergency number in case of serious problems.

Petri Marjamaa, superintendent at Finnish Police Board, who introduced the solution internationally to other police forces last week at a cyber crime conference in Czech Republic, said the interest to adopt the app was clear.

"It's something they were very keen to see replicated in their countries," Marjamaa said.

(Reporting By Tarmo Virki)

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