Originally called Vigilante, Citizen is a mobile app that helps people report crimes. It is similar to a police scanner app, but it also provides users with information about nearby incidents. It provides real-time 911 alerts, alerts about natural disasters, and updates about protests. It also provides users with live video of incidents, which can help to locate missing children. The app is currently available on both iOS and Android. It has been downloaded about 11.7 million times. In the last two years, its user base has grown steadily.
Citizen is a startup company based in New York. It is funded by a firm that also invested in the previous version of Vigilante. Ben Jealous, a former NAACP president and former partner of the firm, says the app is a tool that can help vulnerable communities. However, it has not always been a success.
The company initially went by the name Vigilante and marketed its app as a way to allow ordinary people to report local crimes. This earlier version of the app was removed from the Apple App Store because it encouraged users to go to crime scenes and put themselves in harm’s way. The company has now switched to a new formula.
The company now has a staff of “analysts” who monitor scanner traffic and create short alerts. They follow training manuals and listen to recordings at double-speed. These signals must be approved by a Moderator before being displayed on the Citizen app.
Citizen also has a $20-a-month subscription service called Citizen Protect. The service gives subscribers access to live video, video chats with Citizen staff, and the ability to call Citizen staff at any time. It also includes the COVID-19 contact tracing feature, which lets users know when their contact has been exposed. Citizen is also looking at its rewards program, and is currently evaluating whether it is a good use of its resources.
The company has also had to deal with the loss of its co-founder. Ben Jealous has been replaced as CEO and has also lost his position as a partner at the firm that invested in Citizen. In the wake of this, the company has made a major shake-up of its senior management team. However, the company has maintained that it is moving forward in a way that benefits the public.
Citizen’s growth has been steady over the last two years, and the company plans to double its user base in 2020. However, the company has not lived up to its marketing themes, and some former employees believe that the app is moving closer to the earlier version of Vigilante. They fear retaliation from management.
Some former employees of the company also worry that Citizen is moving too far into dangerous territory. For example, the company has used a “wanted” poster in an effort to get people to report crimes. However, the poster was not authorized by the police. And in one incident, a Citizen employee incorrectly thought a man started a brushfire. The company then offered a $30,000 reward for information on the man. However, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department denounced the company’s actions.