Citizen ideal for crime watchers but not crime stoppers — by design

first_img 0% Let’s say you’re at work and your phone buzzes. You pick it up expecting your 100th email or text notification of the day and instead read: “NEARBY! Burglary at [Your address].”That’s the alert I got from Citizen, an app that notifies you about crimes in your area. In my experience, can be anything within a two-mile radius or so.What do you do with this information? My building has about 50 apartments. Should I run home to defend my place? I decided not to. I never got an answer about what actually happened in my building. Nothing of mine was missing, and my building manager’s theory was that someone may have been horsing around on the fire escape. Citizen’s only update came 18 minutes later: “Officers on scene are no longer requesting assistance.” Still, it was the defining moment in my experiment with Citizen, which I had downloaded to write about. One of the first things you see when you install and open the app for the first time is a breathless announcement that “this app could save your life.”Soon after, you are warned: “Never approach a crime scene.”If a witness is within a quarter mile of a recently active incident, a little “go live” button comes to life on their app.Citizen is the born-again, hands-off version of an app that bit the dust because it seemed to suggest that witnesses to crimes step in — that one was named, appropriately, “Vigilante.”This newer, cleaner, less morally questionable reincarnation recently reached a milestone: 150,000 notifications about incidents in the San Francisco area have gone out, so far. In my experience, these came so frequently that I eventually barred my phone from playing the notification tone to keep my blood pressure down. They ranged from alarming, to benign, to vague, to just bizarre.“Person fatally shot.”“Car break-in in progress.”“Threats made.”“Man pulled out sword on third floor.”I started to ignore them.Of course, not everyone shares my experience. Josephine, who lives on the border between Potrero Hill and the Mission and asked that her last name not be used, has come to rely on Citizen and feels much safer having it in her pocket. She no longer has to rely on stale reports in the news or on Nextdoor to know what’s going on along her dog-walking route.“That stuff is secondhand accounts from neighbors, or, with the news, it’s reported after the fact. The thing I really liked about Citizen is feeling like I’m dialed in real time,” she told me.That feeling is, I predict, what will draw downloads from consumers of crime news — and, as we know from writing for Mission Local, people, despite themselves, love crime stories.To some degree, everything is filtered, and everything is after the fact. The true extent of crime — and how to definitively avoid becoming a victim — is unknowable. Citizen will not reveal how exactly it sources its reports. They are gathered from “Active crimes circulating in 911 and emergency broadcasts,” Citizen’s Lea Artz, a former television reporter and digital communications director for the NYPD, told me.“We have people monitoring all emergency 911 broadcasts around the clock,” she said. It’s unclear how this access happens. There is no official relationship between the SFPD and Citizen, or the Department of Emergency management and Citizen, just an “open dialogue.”The monitors, comprised of “some people who are former law enforcement dispatchers, people with backgrounds in public safety, people who are interested in public interest journalism,” create headlines and updates that get pushed out to the users. Whoever they are, there’s no denying that they are lighting fast. If you are a Nixle subscriber — a text-message-based safety-alert service that includes things like power outages and gas leaks — you’ll love Citizen. When a deadly shooting broke out in the Fillmore in late October, Nixle alerted me of an event due to “police activity.” Great.Citizen, by contrast, already had a report up more than 20 minutes earlier that three people had been shot, a brief suspect description and an alert that a bystander was livestreaming. But if we’re honest, do we really want to know about all of the awful stuff that’s going on around us, especially when there is, by design, nothing we can do about it? Are we just swapping vigilantism for voyeurism?Aren’t there cases in which the need for privacy outweighs the need to be informed?“It’s something we think about a lot and keep an eye on,” Artz said. “There are cases where we don’t want something to be shown. … We had a woman commit suicide and someone was trying to livestream, and that video was blocked.”And, as she pointed out, nobody is sharing video via the app that couldn’t be shared anywhere else — on a public street, anyone can and does film and post anything.Still, some of what I was notified about made me uneasy. A fatal shooting at an address near my apartment turned out to be a man who had shot himself inside his home. One notification announced that there was a “domestic assault” ongoing at a specific address. Or how about the “man standing in middle of traffic and flapping his arms” at 24th Street and South Van Ness? God help us if we reported on that last one as news with the premise of public interest — we’d be laughed out of town. Perhaps the real game-changer of Citizen is contingent on critical mass. “When everybody has the Citizen app, which is something we dream about a lot … the potential for tracking or capturing or following or all just doing our part to keep each other safe … that’s something that drives all of us,” Artz said.Keep in mind, though, that users cannot generate a Citizen report. And, if you’ve watched the app’s promo video, which strongly suggests that in-app tools could help police catch a kidnapper, understand that there is no mechanism for relaying information from within the app’s chat function or live stream back to law enforcement. I asked what people should do when they’re notified of something happening in a place where they have to go or that they care a lot about — their kid’s school, their home, their office. “People should do the same thing they would normally do: use common sense to stay safe. Call 911,” Artz responded. “Citizen in no way advises people on what to do during ongoing incidents. We provide the relevant safety information to help the public make informed decisions about their personal safety.” center_img Tags: crime • tech Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%last_img read more

His side ran in six tries to defeat the Red Devils

first_imgHis side ran in six tries to defeat the Red Devils and keep up their great start to the season.“It was a good win but it was a bit of a scratchy performance for most parts,” he said. “I’m pleased we got the win the way we did.“It took us a long time to settle down and we forced our hand with the ball too, but in the end we found a good balance.“I thought Benny Barba was outstanding for us, as was Dom Peyroux and Luke Thompson. Those guys stood up. A few of the boys didn’t have their best games, but they know that and you do get it at this time of the year.“We are hard markers on ourselves and are disappointed but it has been a disruptive week with training and not knowing if the game was on or not. All those factors make it hard.“I even have to give Benny credit for what he did during the week. If there’s someone who is going to complain about the weather it would be a bloke from North Queensland!“He has got stuck in and said to the lads what are they complaining about. He’s in a good place at the moment, is enjoying training, and it is showing on the field.“It’s good to have him here.”Saints are next in action when they travel to Warrington this Friday.Tickets for the clash are on sale from the Ticket Office, by calling 01744 455 052, or online here.last_img read more

Fire crews battle house fire in Brunswick County

first_imgFire on Seaside Road on Jan. 13, 2019. (Photo: Sunset Beach Fire/Facebook) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two Brunswick County fire departments responded to a house fire in Grissettown Sunday night.The fire occurred in the 200 block of Seaside Road and was reported around 9 p.m.- Advertisement – Firefighters from Grissettown Fire Department were assisted by the Sunset Beach Fire Department.According to Sunset Beach Fire Department Chief Paul Hasenmeier, none of the residents were home at the time.The Brunswick County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.last_img read more

New Wrightsville Beach school planned with storms floods in mind

first_img The renovations, which will add a second floor to the building and are scheduled to start this summer, are mostly aimed at making room for a growing student body.But architect John Sawyer, of Sawyer, Sherwood and Associate, said that planning for future, stronger storms was key to designing the new school.To read the full article from StarNews, click here. An ariel view of Wrightsville Beach Elementary School. Construction will begin this summer. WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH (STARNEWS) — During Hurricane Florence, Wrightsville Beach Elementary School fared better than many in the region.Like much of Wrightsville Beach, the 66-year-old building was spared the flooding that devastated many inland areas. But with a changing climate and swelling seas threatening coastal buildings, the elementary school is getting renovations for the 21st century.- Advertisement – last_img read more

WWAY kicks off Black History Month celebration with Ocean City Beach

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)- Ocean City beach has been around since 1949 and is now celebrating their 70th anniversary this year. The community is on north Topsail Island and was founded for African Americans to buy property, more specifically ocean front property as there that kind of of property was not available along the coast of North Carolina any where else at that time. The family oriented community is still continuing to grow and thrive today.WWAY kicks off its Black History Month celebration as Amanda Fitzpatrick sat down with Kenneth Chestnut from the Ocean City Beach Citizen council to learn more about the history of the community.last_img read more

Rebuild continues almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence

first_imgPENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —  It has been almost 6 months since Hurricane Florence hit our coast. It displaced thousands of residents.Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity is tackling this disaster head on by joining forces with Pender County as a long term recovery effort.- Advertisement – “What we’re trying to do is for people that are displaced due to Hurricane Florence, we’re trying to fast track their process, obviously, because they’re in need of housing,” said Rebuild Coordinator Jennifer Anderson. “The home ownership program has been something we’ve always done. Rebuild is brand new to us because of the need we saw in the community.”Annie Simmons Walker recently suffered a stroke and, as a single, elderly woman, repairing her home is a big challenge financially, and physically.Could Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity be the blessing she needs?Related Article: NC Wildlife biologists investigate widespread fish kills after FlorenceWalker’s front porch is overflowing with her personal items blocking her home’s front view because Hurricane Florence damaged her roof which wasn’t fully repaired after Hurricane Matthew.“I don’t have a little peephole so, after they get on the porch, I don’t know who it is and if I don’t recognize their voice then I’m scared to open the door,” said Walker.The roof tarp is also blocking Walker from looking out of her bedroom window.“What we did for [Matthew] is all back off again … the shingles and whatever goes under the shingles which has made more water come in,” said Walker. “The septic tank doesn’t work. The heater sometimes works when it wants to.”With more medical and personal bills to count, Walker says she cannot afford to owe any more loans. But, looking for answers to help, she was first in line at the Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity Rebuild Assistance Event Friday morning in Burgaw.“Depending on income eligibility and some different things, our program is able to help people do some of those repairs to their homes,” said Anderson.Just weeks after Hurricane Florence, Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity designed the disaster rebuild program to help low to moderate income homeowners who have damage from Hurricane Florence and need assistance to rebuild. The group is also offering a fast tracked home ownership program.“We have land that we’d like to build on,” said Home Ownership Services Manager Amy Davis. “[These] brand new homes [can help] get people who can’t walk into a bank and get a home loan normally.”Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity works to give everyone the chance to own a home and allows low to moderate income families to enjoy the benefits of being a homeowner.Find details below to the additional application drive and information sessions by Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity at their sites across the Cape Fear:Ogden Restore on March 9th from 12 PM to 4 PMBurgaw Restore on March 23rd from 12 PM to 4 PMlast_img read more

Community gathers at Battleship for Memorial Day ceremony

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Memorial Day is a day to remember, to commemorate and thank those who have served our country, and never came home so that we have the freedoms we have been granted.A ceremony at The Battleship North Carolina was held to show respect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.- Advertisement – There was a 21-gun salute by the U.S. Marines of H&S Battalion, from Camp Lejeune.This years’ event featured remarks by North Carolina Military & Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Hall.Secretary Hall told us the reason why it’s so important to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.“and that reason will ring hollow and be unfulfilled if our communities, and our family members and others don’t pick up the mantle that they fought and died for and carry it forward to achieve. To make a difference in their communities, in the world. making our country safe, making our country great, making our state great, and making our communities great,” said Hall.Related Article: Heat forces South Carolina bridge to close for several hoursThe Memorial Day Service at the battleship has been held every year since 1962, except for last year when it was cancelled due to rain and flooding. Secretary Hall said that about 500 people attended Monday’s event.last_img read more

Section of NC 210 near Elizabethtown to temporarily close

first_imgBLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The threat of future floodwaters closing NC 210 in Bladen County will be diminished, thanks to a series of major culvert upgrades that will wind down this summer. That’s according to a news release from the NC Department of Transportation.On Monday, a section of NC 210 is scheduled to close about a mile south of US 701 northeast of Elizabethtown.- Advertisement – A contractor will install a double-barreled, box-shaped culvert under the road where the highway crosses Smith Mill Pond Run. The nearest intersection is with Walter K. Evans Road.The drainage pipe under NC 210 blew out during Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The new culvert will be larger and capable of handling more floodwater capacity without incurring any road damage.“The roadway and drainage pipe at this location suffered major damage during both hurricanes,” said Ken Clark, the NCDOT district engineer for Bladen and Columbus counties. “Following both storms, our crews worked tirelessly to restore access to the area. So, this major culvert upgrade is critical, and it will help prevent this road from washing out again.”Related Article: Can your apartment complex legally kick you out? The law says yesThe detour will keep drivers on these two primary routes: NC 41 and US 701. The road is expected to reopen by mid-August before school starts.In early July, another section of NC 210 will close about a half mile south of Moore’s Swamp Road near the Black River, where crews will upgrade the drainage pipe. The existing pipe was damaged by Florence and needs to be replaced. The closure will last about two weeks.The detour will be posted on under the Bladen County list of closures.These two projects will follow work completed on June 7 installing two larger culverts under NC 210 north of Green Sea Road that also washed out during the hurricanes.last_img read more

European elections unprecedented viewing figures for Parliaments campaign film

first_imgSince its launch on Thursday 25 April, the three-minute film has been viewed over 75 million times; unprecedented figures for an institutional campaign (figures updated to Thursday 2nd May at 09.00 am).The film is subtitled in all 24 EU official languages as well as other EU languages, different national versions of the same language (33 in total), plus five worldwide major languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Turkish). It has also been produced in 31 sign languages and international sign, with the support of the European Union of the Deaf (EUD).Directed by award-winning Frédéric Planchon, and developed and produced by Parliament’s contractor, European Broadcast Partners and their sub-contractor & Co./NoA, it documents the intense, beautiful and fragile moments when new-born children come into this world across Europe and aims to make us reflect on why we vote. All the births featured in the film are real documentary footage. As one of the centrepieces of the 2019 European Parliament election campaign, the film intends to make Europeans aware of their shared values, emotions and responsibilities. In the words of the young girl narrating the film: “Each of us can leave a mark, but together we can make a real difference”.The European Parliament’s campaign also includes the platform to get people involved in the European elections. So far, more than 270.000 people have signed up.The Europe-wide elections will be held in all EU countries between 23 and 26 May.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more

Ugandans to check for IDs via SMS

first_imgAdvertisement The internal affairs ministry has introduced an SMS platform for Ugandans seeking to know the status of their national identity cards.The provision, however, only applies to people who registered in 2010 during the biometric registration exercise.According to the ministry, which is in charge of the ongoing national IDs distribution, the move is aimed at easing the distribution of the national identification cards. – Advertisement – “When one wants to check for the status of their IDs, they are required to type the word ‘Uganda’, leave a space, type the registration number from the Electoral Commission and then send to 8888,” said Bwesigye Marcellion, the National ID project manager. The SMS will cost sh220.John Eresu, a National Citizenship and Immigration Board member added: “When you SMS your details to that number, it will automatically tell you the status of your card.”The officials said many people have been bouncing at ID distribution centres when they fail to access their IDs due to errors. They added that with SMS, they will be notified whether their IDs are valid or not.Since Monday, when the ID distribution was launched, many people have been continuously turned away by the officials after their cards are found to be missing, while some have errors such as misspelt names and wrong dates of birth.source: New Visionlast_img read more