Mobile safety app alerts students of crimes in area, increases awareness through citizen reports
Beyond texts and email alerts from Ohio State, another crime and safety network is only a click away.
The Citizen App is a personal safety networking site that supplies users with real-time alerts about safety in their area, according to its website. The app relies on information provided by civilians on the scene to inform users near an incident of what is occurring around them.
Although University Police encourage everyone to use resources to keep themselves informed of crime and crime trends, university spokesperson Dan Hedman said in an email these apps are not always reliable sources of information.
“Many apps base their alerts on very preliminary information about a potential incident and that information may turn out to be inaccurate,” Hedman said.
Hedman said reports on sites like the Citizen App can be verified through official channels such as University Police and the Columbus Division of Police daily crime logs where all reported crimes are posted.
Grace Gawronski, a second-year in early childhood education, said the app opened her eyes to how much crime happens around campus.
“It made me realize how much crime there was,” Gawronski said. “There’s way more than I had realized.”
While she downloaded the app to stay up to date on crime, Gawronski said not all of the notifications are helpful.
“I think some things are really helpful like shots heard or an accident where roads are closed, and some things are useless like trash fires,” Gawronski said.
Cecilia Rathbone, a second-year in health sciences, said when she first heard about the Citizen App, she wasn’t interested in downloading it. However, after she kept receiving emails about crime happening around Ohio State, she decided to download the app.
Even though some of the reports do not seem important, Rathbone said she still recommended the app to her friends because she believes it is important to be aware of crime.
“It can be nice to be in the dark about it because then you don’t have to worry about it,” Rathbone said. “But it’s happening whether you know it or not, so I think it’s better to be ahead of the ball and go ahead and download it and just know these things.”