Citizen: An App that Provides Real-Time Safety Alerts

Today, more than ever, it’s important to know what’s going on in your community. While there are many ways to stay informed in regards to their safety, most people are interested in something more immediate that can actually keep them safe in real time.

Imagine an app that could provide up-to-date stories on what’s happening locally so users could avoid areas of conflict or danger—an app that works like GPS does when there’s heavy traffic, an accident, or hazardous conditions ahead.

Meet Citizen: The First Safety App

Citizen is an app that keeps families and their loved ones safe by providing updated, real-time safety alerts, along with immediate access to verified 911 data. Citizen has gone viral, and its popularity is expanding. More and more people are using it to take control of their safety, and be better informed of nearby violent criminal activity, heavy police presence, public gatherings and demonstrations. In fact, the Citizen app currently has over 10 million users.

How Long Has Citizen Been Around?

The first beta version of the Citizen app was launched in New York in 2016 under the name Vigilante. By 2017, the app had been rebranded and relaunched as Citizen. Since then the features on the app have grown at a rapid click, with the latest feature Protect signaling the future of personal safety, with its around the clock service on hand to support users with any safety concerns.

What is the Mission of the Citizen App?

The true mission of the Citizen app is to help users take control of their personal safety, and therefore making users’ worlds a safer place. It can offer everything from staying informed on law enforcement, to covid updates, and even to offer alternate routes away from danger to help reduce risk and chances of encountering impending violence.

The many benefits of the app have made headlines in the media numerous times since its launch in 2017. For example, the app was used in the rescue of an abducted child in Manhattan who was found after an alert was sent out by the Citizen app.

How Does the App Work?

Once users have opened the app, they are able to immediately access the emergency response system to the public. Using radios, Citizen monitors 911 communications and data in major cities in order to gather all information in real-time. A dedicated team at Citizen then filters each communication to create a brief, factual alert to send out. Any Citizen app user nearby the incident will be instantly alerted so that they can take control of their safety.

After logging on to the Citizen app, it requests access to the user’s location so it can send alerts that are applicable to where someone is in real time. Citizen will also request access to contacts so it can send alerts and videos to friends and family.

Clicking on any Citizen update will lead to more information, such as video that will start auto-playing or a map that opens to indicate an incident location. Users can also utilize the Share button at the lower right of the screen which allows them to share a story via direct message with any contacts within the Citizen app or on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp.

With the Citizen app, all users have access to the same impartial information, whether they are regular citizens or law enforcement officers, and Citizen has strict policies in place to vet the information, ensuring accuracy of information for users.

User Shared Content

One of the app’s most important features is that users can share updates with others. As part of the Citizen app community, users are encouraged to make people aware of issues that may be happening in their neighborhood. For example, a Citizen app user can easily shoot and share a live video of an incident in real-time as it is happening. The process is simple: tap the “+” symbol at the bottom of the screen, tap the red record button, and allow the App access to the camera and microphone. All shared recordings (known as “signals”) are approved by a moderator. Users can check the status of their signals to see which are still awaiting moderator approval and which will be in the All Broadcasts tab.

It is also easy for Citizen app users to click on the Profile icon and invite friends or discover other contacts who are currently using the app. Once someone’s friends are using the app, it is easy to communicate with them via direct messages within the app itself.

Many people wonder about the sound of a police helicopter flying overhead. Citizen app sends alerts whenever a police helicopter is nearby and will provide information on the distance and location of the helicopter as well as the reason it’s there. For example, if the helicopter is searching for an armed suspect, users can track the helicopter’s path to keep tabs on its location and avoid accidentally stumbling into potential danger.


The Citizen app has also recently welcomed it’s users to the future of personal safety with launch of its new Protect service which ensures that users will never be alone. Whether you’re walking home alone, meeting someone new, going for a run, or just going about your day, you have instant access to help the moment you need it. This innovative service also provides 24/7 access to a trained Protect Agent, although this feature requires an upgrade to a paid Protect subscription. Subscriptions start at $19.99 per month. Protect Agents help keep users even safer by monitoring their live locations and audio in real-time, even calling 911 on their behalf if it is necessary. They can also alert emergency contacts if requested.

How to Get the Citizen App

Citizen is currently available for either iOS or Android across 60 cities in the US.