New app aims to notify you of crime in Detroit

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 18:21:34-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — It is like having a scanner in your pocket. A new app just launched in Detroit, promising to send your phone information about fires, car crashes, violence, and more.

The Citizen App is now available in eight cities across the United States. It aims to be in thirty cities by the end of the year.

“We have made this app to make it easier for all of us to make our world safer,” said Ben Jealous, a former NAACP president and investor in the app.

He says it is unique in that it hires someone to listen to scanners around the clock, providing information that dispatchers are sharing with first responders. And while in the news business we have learned scanner information sometimes is misleading, only as accurate as a caller to 911, it gives people the ability to be on alert.

Users can then leave comments about what they are seeing at the scene.

“It empowers us to let our neighbors see what we are seeing, to broadcast over the app what we are seeing right from our smart phones,” said Jealous.

The app launched in 2017. One thing that isn’t clear is the business model. Right now there are no advertisements. Jealous says the app is free and promises it doesn’t sell your data. How does the app make money then?

“We will in the future offer premium services,” said Jealous.

People behind the app say it has made headlines numerous times when users not only avoided danger, but helped others. Users have found missing dogs, missing adults, and missing children.

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