2013 Grants Challenge

Smartphone App for Civic Crime Reporting

Crime is pervasive in our communities and its damaging effects are well documented. Despite the negative impacts, criminal activity and crime tips are often not reported by citizens because of fear associated with ‘snitching’. What if we could make it extremely easy for anyone to anonymously report criminal activity and crime tips from a smartphone? With our easy to use smartphone, CitySourced proposes to give residents of Los Angeles a technology tool to report and monitor crime happening around them. The CitySourced crime reporting app will allow Los Angeles residents to log and categorize crime witnessed in their neighborhoods from their smartphones or the web. They will also be able to get a quick view into what crimes are happening around them by viewing other reports and public data on a map. Regardless if reports are submitted anonymously or a user chooses to include contact telephone and email information, the CitySourced app allows for communication between citizens and public safety officials through the secure app and platform. In addition, the user would have several options for the crime information submitted in the reports, including discreetly adding a photo or video to a report, providing more valuable data for public safety organizations. CitySourced would be able to use this data to alert authorities to a crime in progress or add to the data available to police and the City. The data gathered will help Los Angeles citizens be more aware of their environment and allow them to understand the location of crime hotspots in the city. By allowing two-way communication through the mobile phone between citizens and the police force we provide better service for residents affected by crime.


What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?

CitySourced has developed a suite of award winning mobile and web civic engagement applications deployed in over 30 cities worldwide. Our mobile applications have been downloaded over 50,000 times and have brought better service and data to the residents and cities we serve.

CitySourced is the official civic engagement platform for cities such as San Jose, Honolulu, Omaha and LAUSD. Our solution directly benefits over 13.2 million citizens worldwide, and we're deployed in six countries spread out across the globe.

As a leader in the civic engagement space, CitySourced has received numerous awards. Below are just a few:

2009 TechCrunch50 Conference: 3rd Place (of 700 entries)

2009 OnDC Winner

2010 San Francisco Magazine's "Best Urban-Action App"

2011 e.Republic Center for Digital Government's "Best of the Web"

2011 GovFresh's "Best Civic Startup" and "App of the Year"

2012 e.Republic Center for Digital Government's "Best of California award for Best Application Serving the Public"

2012 California Helen Putnam Award for Excellence

2013 IBM's Beacon Award Finalist for Smarter Cities

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

CitySourced has a well established relationship with many large enterprise software organizations which will great benefit the functionality of the app. Those companies include Esri, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Omega Group (crimemapping.com), and many more.

In addition, CitySourced has successfully deployed technology apps in Los Angeles Council District 9 and with Los Angeles Unified School district (LAUSD). We’ll harness this experience and additional account manager support to successfully deploy this project throughout all of Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?

CitySourced will measure its success based off citizen engagement with the app.

Engagement is a measure of how many Angelenos download and interact with the application. We will measure download count across iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone and would expect 10,000 downloads in the first 6 months.

We would also measure the total number of reports generated through the app, and would expect to reach 25,000 in the first 18 months. In order to drive adoption, we’ll run outreach and marketing campaigns to get users involved with the application. In addition, we’ll provide access to our metrics dashboard to any public safety officials in Los Angeles County.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles?

CitySourced Crime Reporter will make it easier for citizens to report crime to the appropriate parties for better response from law enforcement groups. We also believe that increasing the visibility of what crime is happening and where, will make it easier for policy makers to come up with targeted data driven policy and for Angelenos to be informed voters on crime prevention policy.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?

We envision our app to be the first step in a technological transformation between citizens and public safety organizations. By opening the lines of communication in an easy to use manner, we’re providing a voice for users to submit important crime activity, while simultaneously giving law enforcement richer, more accurate data.

As citizens generate more data for law enforcement, officials will be able to build better, smarter tools for reacting to crime in real time. In 2050, citizens will be walking sensors capable of transmitting and receiving important information around criminal activity. The net impact of terabytes of data points will be better, faster action on the part of public safety officers, more informed citizens, and a great reduction in crime.

We believe that law enforcement, citizens, and media will use technology tools extensively that will help lower crime rates and make Los Angeles a safer city to live in.