What is Citizen?

Posted by Copper Hill on Wed, Sep 30, '20

These days, it can feel difficult to know exactly what’s going on around you. Sirens, crashes, bangs and booms coming from every corner of the city can be disconcerting, especially without explanation. For years, the only way to get a true beat on all things that go bump in the night was through a police scanner, difficult and costly to obtain, and hardly all-inclusive. These days, you guessed it- there’s an app for that.

For those who want to keep tabs on what’s happening around them in real time, Citizen is just the app to do that. Citizen allows residents to report crimes, threats, happenings, and noteworthy occurrences on an interactive map in real time. The app’s interface includes a scrolling map of your current location along with expandable incident descriptions, live video, and means to contact help. 

For example, if a user reports a fire on a street corner, they have the ability to live stream video and let others in the area know about the fire so that it can be avoided by pedestrians and attended to by authorities. Even if it takes just a few minutes for authorities to respond to a given situation, any bystanders and watchers can alert others to avoid the area and be careful, whether it’s a fire, a traffic accident, or an incident of violence. Through this system, users can receive crowd-based and decentralized alerts that are specifically relevant to their area.

Citizen allows users to create and sustain live broadcasts of incidents as well. It’s certainly understandable to be curious when sirens blare or a loud blast rings in the air, but when crowds begin to gather around a potentially unpredictable and fluid situation, it can create distractions and danger for those trying to assist. By allowing users who come across an event to live stream it for the general public to view, more citizens can be aware and avoid a situation without needing to be there in the moment to know what’s happening

There are many serious events reported on Citizen; robberies, assaults, and accidents are frequently seen on the app as these events happen every day in major urban areas. But that’s not to say that everything on Citizen is dire. Sometimes, there are genuinely head-scratching reports that make one wonder… how could this happen?

You might think you’ve seen it all until you see the truly mystifying reports on Citizen. On Instagram, the account @spotted_on_citizen highlights Citizen reports from across the country that are rather uncommon. 


Whether you’re truly looking to stay safe and protect your community or just see what’s coming through the wire, it’s always smart to have a beat on the streets and know what’s going on. Stay tuned; next week, we’ll talk about how to keep you safe from common lease misunderstandings.

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