An App For Mapping Crime, or Urban Paranoia?

NextGov: It is 2:25 p.m. on a Wednesday, and on North Streeper Street in East Baltimore, a worker is threatening to burn down a building. Seven hours earlier and a few blocks north, a woman was assaulted. The day before, in the same neighborhood, a shot was reportedly fired, and a teenager was spotted “with axe” by a 911 caller who said the boy was off his ADHD medication. Last weekend, another woman—or the same one—was assaulted there, too.

I know all this and more not because I’ve reporting from the streets of Maryland’s biggest city but because I’ve been tracking Baltimore for the last few weeks on an app called Citizen. Using police reports, 911 calls, and ambulance dispatches, the public safety app places red dots of varying sizes on a dark, gray-scale Gothamscape.

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