Since the Citizen App was first launched in 2016, the public safety app has grown to over 10 million users. Now used in more than 60 cities nationwide, the app’s Protect subscription services have expanded to over 100,000 subscribers.
Available for both Android and iPhone users, the Citizen App crime-tracking app posts reports of nearby safety incidents based mainly on police scanner data and other reliable sources. With real-time safety alerts, a safety map that lets you know the safety status of your loved ones, live videos, incident reports, and subscription services for additional protection, the Citizen App provides layers of data to keep you informed.
“There are two things that make people afraid: knowing exactly what’s going on and not knowing what’s going on,” said Andrew Frame, Founder and CEO of Citizen. “I wish that we live in a crime free, total peaceful zone right now, but we don’t and people need the tools to protect themselves.”
Today, the Citizen App has sent over 10 billion public safety alerts. Users are notified of safety alerts, which can include dangerous incidents like fires, car collisions, and searches for missing people. Within seconds, Citizen users are notified of a 911 call so if there is an incident, like a robbery nearby, so users will know to avoid that area.
Similar to police scanner apps, the Citizen App opens up the emergency response system to the public. By monitoring 911 activity and referencing the exact location of users’ phones, the App provides real-time data and information to users to help keep themselves and their communities safe. The alerts are reviewed and go through a strict set of criteria before alerting app users to public safety incidents.
In August of 2021, the app launched Citizen Protect, the on-demand mobile protection subscription service that gives users 24/7 access to Citizen’s team of highly trained Protect Agents. Depending on the situation, the Protect Agent can send emergency responders to your location, notify your loved ones, and guide you to a safe place.
Today, 1 in 3 New Yorkers use Citizen, which is the birthplace and headquarters of the app. Started as a free app, and under a different name in 2016, the app honed in on the use of police radios and the roughly 10,000 911 calls placed in New York City at that time. Frame and his team built hardware devices to capture radio signals and place them throughout the city.
The app has evolved over the years, improving its services, participating in scientific studies, and working closely with the leading safety experts out there. The app works with a diverse team of advisors including experts like Bill Bratton, the former NYPD Police Commissioner, and violence interrupter leaders like Erica Ford, and Ben Jealous, former CEO of the NAACP. Plus, all alerts are screened and filtered by the Citizen team to create vetted and fact-checked alerts.
The Citizen App safety alerts and incidents reports and notify users of dangerous situations before police may have even responded.
A New York University research study published last year followed the use of the Citizen App among medical professionals and emergency room staff. According to the study, the app alerts “notified app users more than a median half an hour earlier than” traditional emergency medical service systems and before ambulances arrived at the hospital. The study found that “had app alerts for the patients been directed to trauma team members, they may have provided more advanced notice of impending need for specialized trauma care,” the study said.
Frame said fire department personnel, hospital medical staff, and paramedics are among the groups that have begun to use the app “for situational awareness, to prepare for their decision-making.”
In the beginning, the app has had its fair share of skeptics. “People didn’t understand what this was. But now that people are recognizing the benefit of community safety, community engagement … I think that it is starting to become embraced much more widely,” Frame said.
“So there’s just been this enormous byproduct that comes from this, you know, relatively simple and pure mission of just keeping our users safe,” Frame said. “But it surprises us each and every day how people are using it to stay safe.”
To learn more about the Citizen app, and the safety data it provides to help empower users, go to https://citizen.com/. See more from Andrew Frame here: https://ecorner.stanford.edu/contributor/andrew-frame/