In rural Alberta, property crime rates are higher than urban areas due to a number of factors, including less witnessess present and long RCMP response times. The Crowd Security App helps residents track and report suspicious activity, creating records that can be shared with the police, and creating an easy way for residents to inform others in the network if they suspect illegal activity or suspicious persons in their area.
William Spinks, Manager, at Crowd Security, says, “Although the app can be used anywhere, rural crime was the inspiration. There is a lag and we need to get the right people to the right place at the right time as quickly as possible. We use the latest technology to enable our community to deter them. We made a unified platform that helps trail active crimes to give authorities the ability to solve the cases.”
The system is not just for crime reporting. It includes a virtual vault that stores information about personal belongings on the cloud.
“A lot of my friends lost everything in the Fort McMurray fire,” Spinks says. “Their houses burnt down, and they lost all their documentation and receipts, etc. Lots of people did not have information on personal belongings for the insurance company, which made filing hard. We created a virtual vault, which is a secured private server where photos and documents can be safely stored.”
Gary Zhang, a GIS expert and founder of MRF Geosystems Corporation is one of the creators of the app. He adds, “The app is like a digital community block watch. If you see something suspicious, share it with the neighbours so if something happens, there are leads to connect the dots. This can lead to pictures of the suspicious person or vehicle. With more eyes, we can spot and catch intruders and help reunite owners with their stolen property. The app and vault are free. When law enforcement recovers something like a vehicle, car, or bike, they can search our database to get the recovered item back to the owner.”
After very positive feedback from the app’s rollout, other features (some will have a cost) are in development. A Crowd Security Safety feature, to be released later this year, includes:
- An SOS alert to ask members of the Crowd Security network for help such as to assist with a tire change.
- A geofencing component so if, for example, an elderly parent with dementia breaks the property perimeter, a family member is notified and can ask the Crowd Security network for assistance. This app can also track new drivers, alerting parents if their child has gone past the agreed upon distance.
- A timer that alerts someone if you do not disable the alarm within a certain period of time. Mapping software pinpoints your location. This is helpful for country hiking or driving on rural roads.
With responsible use, the Crowd Security app, and the incoming, Crowd Security Safety features, can be a tool in helping residents protect themselves and others, while having the ability to network with their community to report on crimes in progress, to get help when stranded in remote areas, to better track family members that need assistance, and to liaison with the RCMP that need extra eyes in rural communities. Learn more at www.crowdsecurity.ca, and watch the explainer videos on YouTube.