“My kids play outside, have friends, you just wanted to make sure they’re safe no matter where they are, even if you’re not with them,” said Tammy Allman.

Now, parents like Allman have a new tool. In September, the federal government launched the Operation Predator smartphone app.

“We decided we wanted an application, because we recognized more and more people are using mobile devices, and there’s a lot of people that are interested in these type of investigations,” said Brian Hale with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

The app sends out alerts to parents about sex predators on the run who could be living just about anywhere, like a man who federal investigators said was producing child porn using a 10-to-12-year-old girl. The alert includes pictures of the man and locations where he has been known to be in the past.

But federal officials say the most important part of the app is the part that gives people an easy and anonymous way to report possible predators. Federal authorities are hoping tips from the public can help them find other possible known victims of identified predators.

“At the end of the day, we want to get the bad guys, and if this application helps us get a tip that leads to a child predator being taken off the street to protect our children, then it’s going to be well worth the effort,” said Hale.

The app is so new, several parents we talked to in Sanford had not even heard of it. Some even seem surprised by it.

But just about every parent said they plan to download it and use it.

“That does surprise me, and I’ll have to get that information from you before you leave,” said John McGill.

“It’s a good service to have,” said Allman.

The Operation Predator app is free, but only available so far on IPhones. Its creators plan to make it available for other smartphones soon.

You can find more information and a link to the download at Ice.gov.