In the UK, Surrey police have developed a Smartphone application that lets citizens track crimes in their neighborhood, including “live updates on where and how neighbourhood police teams are taking action”.
Although there is no official Chicago police app (yet?), you can still use the EveryBlock Chicago app (iPhone users) and this one for Android users. This app will keep you up-to-date with news in your neighborhood, including new businesses, fire alerts, coupons, real estate listings, health inspections, and most importantly, alert you of crime in your area.
Social media increasingly helps consumers stay in touch, but “the downside of social media: everything that can be used to organize charity or fun can also be used for crime.” Chicago has recently seen a rise in flash mob crimes. Flash mobs crimes occur when teens communicate over social media with plans to loot or attack victims. These mobs are “typically organized through a series of text messages, tweets, or Facebook posts” making these attacks “unexpected and often uncontainable”. Fortunately, some teens in these attacks are quickly apprehended, however, these victims need more help!
VinTech hopes to one day see an innovative app, just like Surrey’s Police, that would allow citizens in Chicago to stay more in tune with crimes. With more social access, and with the help of more proactive citizens, we could help report these crimes in progress and perhaps deter them from happening in the first place.