Diversity & Inclusion
Crime / STEM / Youth

Temple summer program yields crime-reporting app and these other tools

A team of high schoolers is behind the web app, called Gotcha! When it launches, its creators hope the app will help community members hear about petty crimes that often go unreported.

Alex Hillman and Geoff DiMasi present to the community (Photo by Sean Blanda)

Software developers built apps that map crimes in Philadelphia, but what about the type of low-level crimes that don’t get reported to the police?

Eleven high schoolers built a web app called Gotcha! that lets users report crimes they see, according to a release. They hope it can be a way for cops to see crime patterns and for others to hear about petty crimes that don’t get reported but still affect a community. The app is slated to launch in the fall.

The app was one of several projects built by the more than 200 minority high schoolers that participated in Temple University’s second annual session of Urban Apps and Maps Studio summer programs. The program teaches students about business and design through the creation of a product that tackles a real-world problem. Last year, students built an app that would help store owners on North Broad prevent shoplifting.

The Temple program is funded by the Knight Foundation, the Philadelphia Youth Network, the Doris Duke Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Gotcha! reminds us of the award-winning route-planning app that Academy @ Palumbo high schoolers built. It mapped crime so that users could find the safest routes to walk to school.

Here are some of the other projects built by participants in this summer’s Urban Apps and Maps program, with language supplied by Temple:

  • An air pollution sensor and heart monitor system that could one day be miniaturized and mounted in a watch. The system could interact with apps on smartphones.
  • A play written and acted by four students in which a young, street-wise rapper meets and learns valuable life lessons from notable Philadelphia African Americans from the past and present, including W.E.B. DuBois, Cecil B. Moore and Kenny Gamble.
  • A workflow and communications redesign of a hospital clinic to better enhance the patient experience from the time they check in until they check out.

Read more on Gotcha! in the Daily News and CBS.

Companies: Temple University Urban Apps & Maps Studio

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