andrew, frame, founder

The public safety app Citizen is a mobile protection service that is available for both Android and iPhone users. The safety app posts reports of nearby safety incidents based on police scanner data and other reliable sources. The Citizen app features real-time safety alerts, live videos, incident reports, subscription services for added layers of protection, and even a safety map that lets users know the safety status of loved ones.  

Plus, users can feel more confident with the Citizen app’s layers of protection, whether walking home, meeting someone new, exercising outdoors, or running daily errands. The app gives premium subscribers 24/7 access to a trained Protect Agent who can help whenever users are feeling unsafe. In this article, we chat with Andrew Frame to learn more about the app’s most useful features. 

Founded in 2017, the app has expanded its features, with the number of users more than doubling by March 2021.  In August, the app launched Citizen Protect, the on-demand, personalized, mobile protection subscription that gives users 24/7 access to Citizen’s team of highly trained Protect Agents. Depending on the situation, the Protect Agent can send emergency responders to your location, notify your loved ones, guide you to a safe place, and if it meets the criteria, alert other users of the App.

The app works closely with the leading safety experts out there. The team of advisors includes violence interrupter leaders like Erica Ford, Ben Jealous, former CEO of the NAACP, and Bill Bratton, the former NYPD Police Commissioner.

For added layers of protection, users can upgrade their account to a monthly subscription that is essentially a private helpline. The subscription service gives Citizen users 27/7 access to Protect Agents via video, audio, or text in case of emergencies. These highly-trained safety experts have backgrounds that range from former 911 operators to Emergency Medical Technicians. 

“We hear from our users all the time about how the app has helped them when they’ve had a close call or been in an emergency,” said Andrew Frame, Founder and CEO of Citizen. “It’s not one out of a million. You can talk to almost any Citizen user and get an interesting story on how it has helped them.” 

Besides safety alerts, users also receive alerts about what Frame and his team refer to as “magic moments,” when community members have helped one another through the app. Examples of success stories include missing kids that were returned to their parents due to the app. Two users of the Citizen app received a notification about a missing child and contacted the authorities.

“People call 911 when an emergency is happening, and you download Citizen in order to know when one of those emergencies may impact your safety. So, we created a system that leveraged the collection of open radio waves and turned that noise into something new by giving it to the people who need it to keep them safe. As a result, we have countless stories, which we call ‘magic moments’, of people whose lives were changed by the Citizen app notifications.” said Frame.

Similar to police scanner apps, the Citizen app opens up the emergency response system to the public. The app works by monitoring 911 activity and referencing the exact location of user’s phones, which provides real-time data and information to users to help keep themselves and their communities safe.

The majority of alerts are based on 911 calls, which are reviewed and go through a strict set of criteria before alerting app users to public safety incidents. Some of the incidents in the app are first submitted by users of the Citizen app. Examples of incident reports typically include information about protests, lost pets, or severe weather. All reports are screened and filtered by the Citizen team to create vetted and fact-checked alerts. These safety alerts and incident reports alert Citizen app users before police may have even responded.

Citizen app users can also connect with friends and family. Using this safety map, users can find out if something important is happening around them or their loved ones. This allows users to see the exact location of their loved ones, so you know at a glance if they are near a dangerous situation in real-time. The map function also lets users track specific locations, like workplaces and schools, to receive information about public safety incidents. Plus, at any time, you can turn on Ghost mode to keep your location private. 

“If you use Citizen, you will be aware of all of the public safety incidents going on around you,” said Frame. “Most of our users find this very empowering because they want to know what’s going on.” To learn more about the Citizen app, go to https://citizen.com/

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