High Schoolers Invent “Gotcha” App To Post Petty Crime Reports

Eleven high school students in Temple University’s Urban Apps and Maps Studios’ Building Information Technology Skills summer program have developed a Web-based app called “Gotcha,” which allows the public to post crimes they’ve seen, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. The app, which can be accessed by desktop computer or through the Web browser on your mobile phone, is being unveiled today. “Say you are at a corner store and you see a guy steal a muffin – you can just report it and all the people in your area will know that that guy stole a muffin,” said Kory Calicat-Wayns, 17.

Facts supplied by app users will be kept in a database and appear on a map. Each type of crime gets its own icon, and users can filter using the sidebar. “What sets us apart from other sites is that we are user-friendly and mostly interactive,” said Cameron-Javon Scott, 14. The app aims to report small crimes that often go unreported, such as vandalism and petty theft. Graduate student Michael Korostelev, an instructor for the program, said, “Even if the police don’t directly respond to these small crimes, they can see a pattern of what goes on and where, so they can maybe change the way they patrol and things like that.” The Gotcha team members are among more than 200 minority high school students who participate in Apps and Maps.

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