Citizen app gives users real-time crime, traffic alerts

There is now a phone app that can help users stay safer and it is now available in Detroit.

Covering 13 cities in all, the Citizen app is a new way for anyone to report crime and get 24-7 alerts. It launched in Los Angeles in 2017 and allows users in coverage areas - to see real-time alerts of 911 calls and even report crimes they see.

"If you're close to what's going on, you can broadcast what you are seeing, so people can see what you're seeing," said Ben Jealous, a investor.

Users can even upload videos and information. It is then quickly verified and available to other users for free.

"It's made a huge difference, giving people a head's up when there's a fire, even in their own building," Jealous said. "It's helped us find missing kids much faster."

Cell phone video of a frightening armed robbery at this Sprint store on Detroit's west side Monday showed up on the app within minutes.
 "Once they came in they, the guy had a gun and pointed at us," said the store manager. "We need to make this city a safer place and it all starts with us."

The app allows users to track recent and trending traffic accidents or attacks.

"They can make real decisions about maybe I should avoid the area, or maybe if they are first responders they can get there faster." 

Many Detroiters are still concerned about police response time, but are grateful there's another way for them to know what's going on around them.
"I think that's a great idea. I would feel a lot safer with that," said one resident. expects to expand to 35 cities by the end of the year... 

"It helps you make your world safer," Jealous said. "It helps you get more control and gives you peace of mind."