Citizen, the real-time crime alerting app, is growing in big cities using Scanners

nowires

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Sep 4, 2017
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I am glad I got decades of enjoyment of this hobby before the internet carpetbaggers swooped in to capitalize on the hobby and suck it dry leaving a hollow carcass.


Looks like the founder and VCs will get rich on all the free labor buying scanners and keying in the data. So far 12 million is the initial value of the company.
Al Gore created the internet if that helps...but the part of the internet he created is considered...to be...well....illegal...and he also claims global warming is going on despite the laws of thermodynamics and casual observation state the opposite.

Like are they going to give the creators/maintainers of the Citizen app all the big E keys so they can listen in? There should be some AI that automates the whole process if electronic equipment is that advanced these days. Does the P25/Nexedge/DMR/etc come with a Closed Captioning package that you can connect to a USB port and can be programmed to feed directly into the app?
 

NakedFaerie

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Dec 3, 2013
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Wonder if there is an app like this in Australia? The cops and government here cover up crimes to make it look like its safe but its not. In reality crime is rising but they lie to us.
We need apps like this to show they are wrong and keep us safe.
 
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I sent citizen a resume to fill their radio tech installer job, have not heard a peep from them. Their business model seems to be starting in big cities with high crime and dense populations that can feed them info.
 

blantonl

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Looks like the founder and VCs will get rich on all the free labor buying scanners and keying in the data. So far 12 million is the initial value of the company.
12 million isn't the initial value of the company. They've been funded with a total of 13 million dollars over 4 rounds, with Sequoia Capital being the lead investor.

And from what I can tell, they are burning through cash with no real (public) plan to make money.
 
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More cell phone toting, self-entitled, whackers at a breaking news scene are not going going to be well received by either the emergency services nor professional media.
Professional media are there for one purpose, to sell advertising by providing informative / provocative / sensational content to keep eyeballs glued to the screen.

Most of us here have a professional license or certification, let a govt agency suggest doing something similar for reporters like they do for insurance agents, hair dressers, etc and watch the reaction.
 

supernix

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Nobody has any proof that the public is listening to the apps and rushing to the scene of any event. It is complete ignorance to make that statement, you have zero proof to substantiate it.
Seems the people making these ignorant comments never thought about the fact that nobody wants to be the 100th person in line waiting to get by and you don't see anything.
 

Anderegg

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I literally know several people who listen to scanner apps and show up at the scenes I am covering...

...with that being said, they typically offer my station free cell phone video of aspects of the story I missed before my arrival.

As for Speedways licensing suggestion...in my neck of the woods, a "press pass" is really no more than a form of courtesy card, just shows you were willing to jump trough some hoops. I know one local first amendment auditor type that had his press pass revoked and was fighting about it.

Paul

Nobody has any proof that the public is listening to the apps and rushing to the scene of any event. It is complete ignorance to make that statement, you have zero proof to substantiate it.
Seems the people making these ignorant comments never thought about the fact that nobody wants to be the 100th person in line waiting to get by and you don't see anything.
 

nowires

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Nobody has any proof that the public is listening to the apps and rushing to the scene of any event. It is complete ignorance to make that statement, you have zero proof to substantiate it.
Seems the people making these ignorant comments never thought about the fact that nobody wants to be the 100th person in line waiting to get by and you don't see anything.
I think it has more to do with the Duhpartment of Homeland Security giving local governments grant money to participate in the somewhat unnecessary scheme of things.
 
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When I went through the San Diego county sheriff's academy in the late 70s we were told anything stating media or press was considered valid ID. SDPD's media credential requirements include your SSN even though I've been told NCIC records checks no longer use them.
 

Dawn_Adams

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I checked out reviews on the Citizen app. I was thinking of installing it on my IPad. Many of the reviews state that the app wants your location on at all times. It drains your battery quickly too. Hard pass. I already have a number of scanner apps on my IPad that keep me appraised of what's going on nearby.
 

robertwbob

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Sounds like a few are indirectly saying we dont need scanners?
Kinda off track a small bit but when the tornados went by my house,1 did small damage,i breathed a tad easier knowing the last 1 missed me by a mile,sadly heard a friends mom n dad were killed, heard what roads were open.
But then we all have opinions,i think unless the higher ups destroyed that like most anything else they deem bad for them.
 

wadenbc

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I have to disagree with folks upset over the Citizen app. Any app that helps keep people safe is a good thing. So far, this app has been credited with sending out alerts covering active shooters, helped find missing children and missing people with dementia. I am hopeful this app covers all major cities in the USA and then moved into Canada. Anyone that doesn't like the app either is (a) a dinosaur, (b) anti scanner anti freedom of info or (c) a conspiracy theory nut.
 

K3JTP

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The August 31 (current) issue of Forbes Magazine contains a feature article on Citizen and its founder Andrew Frame. I assume it is paying big money to obtain the encryption keys that we, the general scanning public, cannot access. The article does not address the technical issues over encryption. The article mentions $40MM in venture funding, with no appreciable revenues.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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jhsands, Florida has a law about putting a scanner in a business.
Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine
That is pretty damn restrictive for not only business but just about everybody.

My home office which has a Business Tax License on file, also has a BCD536HP on the desk.

Specifically why I have a ham tech license.

(3) This section does not apply to the following:
(a) Any holder of a valid amateur radio operator or station license issued by the Federal Communications Commission.
 

rustyhodge

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I assume it is paying big money to obtain the encryption keys that we, the general scanning public, cannot access.
It's not encryption keys, it's partnership deals with police departments. They don't use scanner feeds, they're tied directly into the CAD dispatch systems. They also rely on users reporting more details, and ping a user if something happens near them, to encourage the person to try and video the event.

Citizen is not everywhere yet; focusing on larger cities and they're tied into the 311/911 dispatch systems. This is nothing new, 10 years ago there was another website (I'm blanking on the name) that did the same thing, they had info sharing partnership with about 15 cities. They couldn't make money either and shut down.

I suspect the valuation behind Citizen app is that someone like Ring (Amazon) or Google will buy them, and make the app part of a larger home paranoia (oops, mean to say home security) system.

You can get a version of their feed on twitter, doesn't include as many details as the app does, but does seem to include everything the app gets in its data feed.


Some agencies make these feeds public already, such as the California Highway Patrol: CHP Traffic
 

footage

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According to the Forbes article (and consistent with my own experience with Citizen), they're not hooked into any official CAD systems. They monitor scanners on their own without permission, which is why they don't currently offer information from any city whose public safety transmissions are encrypted. In San Francisco they're monitoring our analog trunking system, as far as I know — but perhaps you have an inside track. Are you thinking about PulsePoint, perhaps, which does receive CAD feeds? They are EMS/fire only.
 

rustyhodge

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San Francisco
There was a site called EveryBlock that had the CAD feeds for SF and other cities. I recall MSNBC bought them and shut them down for some reason.

There is still CrimeMapping.com - Helping You Build a Safer Community CrimeMapping, which states:
Where Does the Data Come From?
We extract data from the existing records system at each participating law enforcement agency through an automated import process. The data we display will always be the most current available.

Found this from the old Blog on Everyblock:


At EveryBlock, we seek to have good working relationships with all of the dozens of agencies we deal with in the 15 cities we cover. In the course of our work, we’ve seen many approaches to the publication of data, especially crime. We suggested that the LAPD take a look at the example of the San Francisco Police Department.

As we note in our San Francisco police calls section, the SFPD publishes a raw data feed, exported from their system. Because it’s a single source of data directly from the department’s system, it easier to maintain and eliminates the errors that arise from multiple databases.
It's possible this feed is no longer available.

It's also likely that Citizen app gets their data from a variety of places, scanners, etc. As you say, EMS/fire feeds are available easily as are CHP, etc.
 

footage

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SFPD still publishes a feed (see partial framegrab). It's refreshed with a 24-hour delay, so no good for real-time following, but great for data analysis.
sfcad.jpg
 

K3JTP

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since I started this thread this morning, let me point out that according to the article in Forbes: "Citizen gets all its info by eavesdropping on the same public radio transmissions that hobbyists....have monitored. It operates without help-or permission-from authorities." It describes Citizen's "R1" radio as "supercharged police scanner, simultaneously monitoring and recording up to 900 public radio channels" and indicates that there are 20 of them. Here in Baltimore, one of the cities Citizen monitors, the current system according to RR is APCO P25 Phase I, with certain of the police tactical channels encrypted.
 
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