After being held at gunpoint on the streets of Washington D.C., Shayan Pahlevani decided to take action. Using smartphone-app technology, Pahlevani came up with a solution to help people easily report crimes with the push of a button.
Pahlevani's mobile solution, called CrimePush, became available on Feb. 1 on iTunes and is currently in beta. According to Forbes, CrimePush puts crime reporting in the hands of users and allows people to rapidly report the details of the crime to authorities.
The app is devised to report a crime it occurs, and witnesses can send authorities texts, photos, sound and video.
Additionally, the app is said to be designed to report crimes anonymously. The concept behind the app is to allow individuals to empower themselves and help facilitate reporting crimes to law enforcement officials.
“There are often tense situations when calling the police is not an option. There are other times when inconvenience or fear of reprisal prevents one from reporting an incident,” said co-founder, Eman Pahlevani. “Featuring the ability to take a photo, record video and audio, and provide a description of the incident, citizens can now be assured that their phone has the capability to alert family, friends, and the authorities at the push of a button, should a threat arise.”
The company says this app will enable people to swiftly report crimes rather than ignore them. An example used by the company was a situation where individuals witness crimes, but do not stop and take the time to report what was observed. Or, according to the CrimePush makers, "there are other times when personal security is at stake and there is no discreet method of alert."
Using high school and college students as an example, CrimePush says this app is useful for students coming home late at night, or victimized by hazing, drug use or bullying.
“Opening a new channel via a mobile application, youth populations will be more motivated to provide crime tips and informants will have better tools utilizing a phone’s built-in technology to capture audio, image, or video evidence," Pahlevani said.
It appears there are mixed feelings about the app between would-be users and police.
In Missouri, the St. Peters Police Department tested out the app and, according to KMOV, the results received were not what was "expected."
"When our dispatcher downloaded the app and she entered in a complaint and pressed ‘send,’ it got lost in cyberspace somewhere,” Melissa Doss, St. Peters Police Department official, said. “There's a connection missing and I want residents to know that this is not an app to use yet, to report any type of crime because help will not come to you."
"I'm a big fan of its simplicity and definitely feel safer knowing that there's a faster way to get crime reported," said Mameeza Hossain. "It not only strengthens me, but makes me feel a lot more secure," told WJLA.
It's not yet as fast as dialing 9-1-1, however the app's developers say this will be addressed as the company integrates the service with police departments. The St. Peters Police Department indicated they liked the idea, but feel "it is not ready for people to rely on."
Currently dialing 9-1-1 is the most efficient way to report, say police.
Users placed warnings on the iTunes app's page because the app is not fully integrated with police departments. One reviewer said, "Good idea, reckless execution." Others warned not to use the app since it is not functional.
CrimePush has added a disclaimer stating the app is not yet fully operational and makes a plea for users' help to make this happen. The statement also says:
"By downloading this application, you understand and agree to these terms: The CrimePush application is NOT linked, NOR connected to any police, medical, or law-enforcement authority as of yet. By using this application at this time, you will not be assisted for any and all emergencies or crime-reports submitted. NO police department, medical emergency unit, or law enforcement agency will receive a distress message from this application. This is a Beta version that should ONLY be used by potential partners or clients to TEST the utility and user-friendliness of the application. should an emergency arise, you should dial 911."
CrimePush plans to partner with high schools, law enforcement agencies, colleges and international mobile carries.
CrimePush is patent pending, and the free app can currently be downloaded on Android's Marketplace and the iTunes store. Just keep in mind, the app is in beta and not going to work properly at this time.