Public safety alert app Citizen launches in Baltimore - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Feb. 13, 2019 12:44 pm

Public safety alert app Citizen launches in Baltimore

The app provides real-time alerts of crime and other emergency incidents. Baltimore is the third market for the company.

Police tape in Baltimore.

(Photo by Flickr user Something Ferdinand, used under a Creative Commons license)

Correction: This article was updated to reflect Ben Jealous was a candidate for governor of Maryland, not mayor of Baltimore. (1 p.m., 4/19/19)

Citizen, an app offering real-time alerts about crime and other emergencies to users in a given area, launched in Baltimore on Wednesday.

It’s the third city where the company is deploying the app and standing up a local team, along with New York and San Francisco. News of the expansion was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.

According to the company, the app offers instant alerts of nearby 911 emergencies, and also allows a user to livestream from an incident — once they’re safe. Incidents and alerts are generated only if a first responder is dispatched, a spokesperson said. It also shows maps to provide locations of recent incidents.

The alerts are created through a mix of people and tech, as a team of analysts monitors public data sources and uses proprietary technology.

In a Medium post, CEO Andrew Frame wrote that the company decided to expand after advisor and investor Ben Jealous approached the company. Jealous, a former Democratic candidate candidate for governor in Maryland, tweeted support for the expansion, sharing anecdotes from New York that the app helped lead to suspect info about a child abduction, and missing persons. In Baltimore, crime also plays a role.

“Like everyone who lives and works in Baltimore, I would like to be safer. And I would like to have more tools to help make our city safer,” he said in the tweet.

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“Given the escalating crime and lack of public safety resources, Baltimore was a great place to try something new,” Frame wrote. “Citizen can now help Baltimore residents in the way it has helped New York and San Francisco, with real-time notifications that let a user escape a burning building or rescue a four-year old from an abductor. Citizen, with its real-time information, may be just what Baltimore needs.”

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