Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Crime-Tracking App Citizen Launches Paid Emergency Response Subscription Service

By The Daily Upside – Aug 3, 2021 at 10:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

There's plenty of apps out there for times of leisure, whether you're scouting local breweries or doing some good old-fashioned...

For more crisp and insightful business and economic news, subscribe to The Daily Upside newsletter. It's completely free and we guarantee you'll learn something new every day.

There's plenty of apps out there for times of leisure, whether you're scouting local breweries or doing some good old-fashioned candy-crushin'. Citizen's crime-tracking app is one for the not-so leisure times.

And Citizen just launched an emergency response service offering users quick access to agents who can provide assistance or dial 911 in a potentially dangerous situation.

Who You Gonna Call? Crime-Trackers!

Operating in roughly 60 U.S. cities, Citizen's app offers users real-time updates of nearby crime scenes, fires, and other potential hazards based on user tips and police scanner data, among other sources.

Citizen's new Protect service, which will run subscribers $19.99 per month, is essentially a safety help-line that makes use of location tracking, video calling, and other talents of the modern smartphone. Built on a beta program that launched earlier this year, here's how Protect works:

  • In the Citizen app, subscribers can tap to connect to a "Protect Agent" via video, audio, or text. The agent will attempt to guide users through unsafe scenarios, directing them to safer areas, de-escalating disputes, or dialing 911 or an emergency contact.
  • With a subscriber's consent, agents can provide authorities or emergency contacts with location data and also create a public Citizen incident, alerting nearby Citizen users to the situation.

Citizen's Arrest: Despite its everyman name, Citizen is not without controversy. Critics have accused the firm of drumming up paranoia to peddle its services as a sort of peace-of-mind elixir. And the firm's OnAir live broadcasting platform, which blends crime tracking with local reporting by live streamers, was caught in a bad light when Citizen's streamers urged users to track down a man falsely suspected of arson.

For its part, Citizen claims it strictly surfaces "relevant, real-time information" about users' surroundings and promises agents will never create a Citizen alert without permission.

Crisis Qualified? While Citizen touts its agents as "highly trained safety experts," Fast Company noted that a job listing for a Protect agent featured "minimal" qualifications. With Citizen now looking into private security services, one can only hope any such hires will be thoroughly vetted.

None

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
351%
 
S&P 500 Returns
115%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 11/30/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.