Crime reporting applications for smartphones aren’t new, but the US Army hopes that ‘iWatch Army’ can boost its efforts to shore up military installments against crime and terrorism.
“iWatch brings the concept of the neighborhood watch to the Facebook generation,” said founder Daniel Elliott told Reuters.
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The US military has been on high alert for possible attacks and other incidents since a July 15 shooting that killed five servicemen at two military offices in Tennessee.
It has since turned to an outside-the-box approach to help prevent future attacks.
Made by public safety app developer CloseWatch Inc., the iWatch system uses smart algorithms to analyze inbound tips from servicemen and women as well as civilian visitors to military bases. In the event of an actionable tip, the app forwards it to the appropriate agency (or agencies) within a span of about eight seconds — much faster than a 911 call.
There are even safeguards against false or racially biased alerts, such as those reporting men with beards or head coverings. The Army emphasized that it was looking for behavior, not appearance and that the system is primed to handle problematic repeat tips from a single source.
Currently, the Army plans to give the app a test run in 17 domestic bases before unrolling it to 100 more to follow suit later in the year.