Chicago men’s group develops app to help witnesses record crimes – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – There is a new push to help you respond and register any kind of community danger. A group of Chicago men are developing an app to make it happen.
Willie Samuel’s roots lie on the West Side of Chicago.
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“I grew up around that, the whole violence aspect,” he said.
The now 25-year-old student can testify to having experienced times when he did not feel safe in his neighborhood or around the police.
“Oh, most definitely. I have held many positions, ”he said. “We are going through difficult times and we really need people to really start stepping up.”
That’s what brought him to the corner of 75th and Indiana in Chatham on Thursday – helping out by getting people to redeem theirs by simply clicking a scan code and downloading an app.
“It’s an instant success. Whenever we share it with someone, immediately, ”said Marlon Watson.
Watson, from the South Side, is the technological brain behind the app called Signal 13, a term normally referring to a call to first responders now referred to as a community call for help after dialing 911.
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“If you have the app on your phone, you can click on ‘I need a cookie’. It starts recording instantly, ”he said.
And when you press that button, an alert is immediately sent to people who also have the app. The goal is to get them out as soon as possible to help assist or film themselves.
The concept played a pivotal role in George Floyd’s case. Cell phone video and witnesses ultimately led to the murder conviction of former officer Derek Chauvin. The incident prompted the creation and launch of the app this month in Chicago’s 6th district on the South Side.
“I think I grew up in Englewood, if we had had that 20 years ago the Chicago police would be different,” Samuel said.
The app also allows users to immediately post recordings directly to social media.
“Like if you publish a status, you can publish it like that,” he said.
It is an accountability tool that the men believe could not only help keep the police under control, but could also create a safer environment for everyone.
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The month-long launch is on the south side, but anyone can get it for free. So far there have been around five hundred downloads.