New Android update

We update the app as often as possible to make it faster and more reliable for you. Love the app? Rate us! Your feedback keeps the RedZone engine running.

What's new:
- New Alert Notifications Tab! 
Be safe with our new situational awareness technology. We'll let you know when a crime or a community posted incident has been reported that happens near your current location. Ideal for those that value what's going on around them.

- Enhanced community sourcing

- New Terrorism Notification and Awareness Alert. We'll notify you of any terrorism related incidents that are happening or that have taken place.

- Bug fixes and additional enhancements

Have a question or suggestion to help us enhance our app?
Reach out to us at https://redzonemap.com/contact-us

 
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Campus Spotlight: Rochester Institute of Technology

RIT jointly hosted a two-day international workshop on Urban Data Science with the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Ali Raza, left, associate professor of network and system administration at RIT Dubai, met briefly with keynote speaker Ted Farnsworth, CEO and founder of RedZone, who discussed “Innovative Technology as a Mitigating Factor for Crime and Terrorism in Urban Areas.” The workshop, sponsored by RIT Global and the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, drew in more than 40 international experts in data science, social sciences, cloud and distributed computing, urban sustainability, public policy and software engineering.

Photo by A. Sue Weisler

Photo by A. Sue Weisler

A Parent's View of RedZone Map

Parent Dave Berry reviewed RedZone Map and here’s what he said about our ‘(M)App’

"For us parents, sending our sons and daughters away to college to live independently for the first time can be stressful. Youthful idealism can cloud the objectivity of some teens quite easily.

While some high schoolers may have been away from home for short summer excursions such as various camps or missions, taking up residence to live in another city is a different matter. In some cases, that new collegiate residence can be thousands of miles away.

In trying to see college-student parenting (many years later) from a current perspective, I was doing some research on college crime reports. Those are the reports that detail how many different types of bad things happen on a particular campus. If you would like to know more about college crime reports, check some of these links.

College crime reports are one thing, but the safety issue of those communities (or large cities) in which the colleges are located is something else. So, I delved into that, using my favorite search engine. That’s when I bumbled onto what I think is a good idea for college students’ safety and parents’ relative peace of mind.

First, a disclaimer: I have absolutely no connection whatever to this product. I have had no interaction with the company and only came by this information via the Internet. So, please don’t consider the information here some kind of marketing ploy. My post is merely an FYI for students and parents.

This is an app for your phone. and its mission is described as being a GPS-driven, real-time crime and navigation map app (a “mapp”?). Apparently, it debuted a little over a year ago and combines real-time crime data and seamless GPS navigation with a social media twist. Part of the description information I found sounds interesting:"

As freshmen spend the summer getting ready for their first semesters on college campuses, parents will have their physical well-being top of mind. Navigating a new and unknown place is a daunting task, and safety should be a top priority. Unlike other maps and GPS apps that guide users to their destination along the quickest routes based on traffic and direct streets, the RedZone Map app guides users to their destination along the safest routes, based on recent crime in the area, so that students don’t accidentally wander into unsafe areas of their surrounding campuses.

With RedZone Map, students will be better informed, more aware, and safer of the area around them. The RedZone Map is available for free on the App Store and Google Play.

Being available for free is certainly an advantage, and people are taking advantage of that. It’s available on mobile devices, it is powered by geo-fencing to inform users of high-crime areas by voice and screen. Offering a risky route and a safe route, RedZone will redirect the user around risky areas, out of harm’s way. Coupled with crowdsourcing, it allows people to drop a pin to reflect hazards that they see such as accidents, police sightings, crimes in progress, etc.

I went to the Red Zone Web site for more information. The presentation there was rather dramatic. The introductory page states: “RedZone Map provides you with a very secure and safe way to view and report crimes in your surroundings that helps you make informed decisions when traveling or navigating your way throughout your journey.
— collegeconfidential.com

Saddened by the Manchester Massacre

Photo Credit - Rolling Stone 

Photo Credit - Rolling Stone 

When the attack on Sandy Hook took place and the news media announced that the killer had attacked a classroom full of second graders, my heart sank.  All I could do was imagine my second-grade daughter cowering under a desk in the face of a madman.  She was that age at the time.

Fast-forward a few years and I feel the same.  My daughters, 12 and 17, are both Arianna Grande fans.  Neither have ever been to a concert in an arena but I consider taking them often to hear their favorite artists perform.  Instead, the ISIS member attacks an arena of innocent civilians in Manchester killing 22 and injuring over 100.

Sadly, the first victim is the age of my oldest daughter and the second was just a little less than my youngest.  Just like Sandy Hook, I am saddened.

I grieve for those children and adults who were mercilessly slaughtered over ideology, hate, and the desire to cause massive mayhem for a “greater good.”  In the current state of affairs where good and evil meet randomly in random places, I worry.  My daughters are kind at heart; so were the victims at Manchester.  The victims and survivors were doing as we have all been told, “Don’t let the terrorist win.  Continue to live a normal life.”  As a father, the concept of normalcy is shifting and I am vigilant about the safety of my daughter.

I am also conflicted.  As a professor, I know that the odds of my daughters finding harm at the hands of an ISIS attack is near 0, but it is possible.  Clearly, there are higher odds of drowning in a pool, perishing in a car accident, and having a life-threatening disease.  Yet, I pay attention.  I watch.  I try to provide a life where daughters can grow up with a sense of safety and security.

The war against terrorism is bigger than me.  However, its nastiness scares my children and serves as a basis for my own anguish.  I feel the pain for those people who perished and survived in Manchester.  Survivors are likely to feel guilt for “why did I live and they passed away?”  Some will have to live the rest of their lives with PTSD.  The community itself will never be the same.  Rhetoric may say, “Go on about your business.”  However, that is shallow when one has children or realizes the random nature of those seeking to harm many in a suicide-bombing attack.  Me, for one, I know that vigilance and knowing “thy neighbor” is a collective effort and necessity of addressing terror.

Sadly, as the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and CIA work in a surreptitious manner, the public is left without information.  Knowing the distribution and mapping of investigation and arrest information of terror members would be useful for people who plan their behavior around the need for safety.  After all, most terrorists are a part of a network and do not work alone.  

Certainly, keeping such information is strategically necessary but as a father to two beautiful daughters the age of those horribly murdered in Manchester, I want information.  I want to know.  I want to protect my daughters so that the specter of terror does not drive them into a fear-laden rabbit hole.  I want them to live in a world where they can wake up feeling secure.  I want them to be able to go to a concert and know they will make it home safely.  I want them to live in peace.  Yes, the odds of victimization by terrorists are low, but I want the odds to be 0.  Am I really asking too much?

Murder in the Windy City

The news often shows mothers crying over the loss of their sons and daughters to gun violence. As a father, I feel as much fear about the harm of my children as any other mother. I see a young boy die in a crossfire and I watch grief struck, too.

I remember my first trip to the Windy City, Chicago and home to the Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, and the Blackhawks. Rich in culture, Chicago is one of the great American cities. Violence there removes much of its luster. It did then and it does now.

When I went to visit my friend from college around 1987, we had left a Pizzeria Uno. With one wrong turn and a half of a mile drive, we found our car at a Church’s Chicken and the base of a tenement. We were at the infamous Cabrini Green. As we opened our window to seek direction, his sister jumped out to get directions and shortly our car was being encircled as a gunshot emanated from the upper floors of the building.

My friend drove off with his sister in the restaurant and I feared for her. She was the age of my current daughter. I was mortified and forced the driver to go get his sister. I wondered to myself, “How did we end up in Cabrini Green in the middle of a Crack Cocaine War?”

Happily, we got back to his home safely nestled in a tree laden street in Deerfield, Il.

Fast forward thirty years later and we witness Chicago fall back into decay. The difference is that I now fear for the safety of my own daughters. As Much as I would like to take them north, the more I fight myself. The dangers expressed by Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton during the 2016 presidential suggested that Chicago is “out of control” with gun violence. The rate of homicide, for example, has exploded since 2014. It is not worth the risk to take my children there.

Though one murder is too many, it happens with saddening regularity. Ranked number 8 for murder in 2016, behind notables such as Detroit, St. Louis, and Baltimore, Chicago is a little different than the others. Namely, Chicago has a unique crime story to tell.

In the 1930s, the Windy City was home to tremendous mafia wars during Prohibition – murder reigned. In the 1970s, the rise of the Folk and People Gang Nations launched a high tide of homicide. And, through 1992, crack cocaine fueled higher rates of crime than many other American cities.

Making sense of the current surge in violence in Chicago seems so easy when watching the news on television or seeing videos on social media, but it is not. First, homicide is not exploding equally throughout Chicago, the majority of its growth is isolated to five districts. Second, looking at the raw number of homicides, 778 in 2016, is misleading. The rate of homicide in Chicago (taking into account its population size of 2,724,121) is lower than the deadliest years in the 1980s through 1992. Yes, there is danger in Chicago but its current level of violence still does not match the height of the crack cocaine wars of the past.

Even with these statistical facts, my desire to travel with my daughters has reached an all-time low. Though we would not travel to those five districts, I stay away. I can’t imagine how many people feel the way I do, but I don’t think that I’m alone. It saddens me when I see a child die for no reason in Chicago. But, I am also saddened that I will not take my kids to stand on the Ohio Street Bridge to look at the beautiful river below. My children are the ones who lose, I have seen the beauty there and miss it all because of the always threatening specter of gun violence.

Field Study in Crime Mapping Data Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Image Credit: ddaftl.org

Image Credit: ddaftl.org

The following article was written by Dr. Shawn Schwaner, Article Takeaway:
* Avoiding violent crime
* Real­time crime mapping
* Crime structure and random crime

Criminologists in Chicago long offered the view that criminal offending is a patterned and structured phenomenon. In 1934, Chicago School of criminologists, Shaw and McCay, noted that the rate of crime, not to be confused with the raw frequency, are highest in zones of transitions where there are low levels of social bonding, control, and where social institutions fail. Yes, the rate of crime is highest in urban inner cities and decrease as urban areas become rural.

However, there are times in which the predictability of crime rates give way to random events. Historically, there are black swans, also regarded as erratic behavior, that cannot be predicted by statistics, science, or any other social scientific methods.

Sometimes, just sometimes, there are moments when decent people, unsuspecting people, harmless people come into contact with violent wrongdoers. There are horrible moments in time and place where the motivated offenders find a suitable target who lack guardianship (Felson and Cohen, 1979) that should never have met let alone become permanently entangled in a life or death event.

The current era is replete with examples in which the "good people" come into gross contact with those who want to do harm. For example, imagine waiting for baggage claim after leaving from Detroit and landing at Fort Lauderdale Airport only to see a former military leader holding sophisticated weapons, such as an AR­15, and opening fire. Random violence is rare but a concern in the modern era nonetheless. In this recent January 2017, the violent outburst that killed five strangers, one of whom was a great­grandmother coming to visit her great­grandchildren, and injuring eight others.

Though rare, violence is real and people want to have access to real­time information about crime events so as to avoid both the danger, and it's aftermath. The new Redzone Map application available on smartphones can notify people of such events with a simple beep or vibration. It can warn of pending trial or provide alternative routes to avoid such danger.

Unique to RedZone Maps, persons who are on the scene can provide real­time information and location so that drivers, and in this case travelers, can provide updates on imminent danger. Advanced information has the effect of providing proactive information that could save lives, allow emergency management crews easier access to crime scenes, and promote a sense of civility in the aftermath of calamity. If information is knowledge and the avenue to strength, the Redzone application is a source of data in times of emergency. Redzone provides alternatives for those rare and unlikely, moments.

For those, however, concerned with daily threats the Redzone can also provide routes that minimize the travel time and distance through areas that have higher rates of crime. Though vicious attack is unlikely, it never hurts to have a plan of safety moving through some of America's crime prone areas. RedZone provides crime mapping accessibility that takes much of the worry out of both structured and random crime events. In this era of threat, it's excellent to know that there are usable, reliable, and accessible sources of information. Who knows, in events such as those in Fort Lauderdale, real­time information could save lives when crime meets random.

Citations:
Felson and Cohen 1979 "Routine Activities Theory" and "Shaw & McKay" 1934 Social Disorganization Theory" where the Chicago School of Criminology created the rates of crime by mapping to show its ecological distribution. 

Should parents be worried about violent crime?

The following article was written by Dr. Shawn Schwaner. 

Typically, news media and political leaders focus on criminal offenders in their portrayal of crime to the public. “If it bleeds, it leads” is a common quotation pertaining to the American fascination with violent crime. Gerbner’s notion of the “Mean World Syndrome” suggests that we are bombarded with negative crime imagery that shapes our understanding and fears of crime in America. In this light, it has been shown that women tend to have the highest fear of crime across the nation, especially violent victimization.

At a deeper level, women who are parents live under the constant specter of fear for their children’s safety and well-being. Images of Columbine and Sandy Hook continue to shake their fears and shape an excessive level of protection of their children. Though these two types of events are extremely rare, the constant news feed focusing on random children being killed in their front yard, on the way to school, or abducted from a mall parking lot are all too real. Parents, in general, and mothers, in particular, fear stranger abduction and random violent crime with considerable peril. In essence, it has long been known that mothers (and fathers) want to know that their children are safe and will return home from school, a friend’s house, without harm.

Image Credit: ABC News

Recently, in Chicago, a little girl was killed in a gang-related shooting followed by another the very next day. Fear in the city has escalated as many mothers and children seek solutions to the “madness.” Gangs are there and mothers dread the idea of their kids living in a world of threat. They want precautions. They want reassurance. Mother’s want to know where danger lurks and the likelihood of violence or abduction is the highest. And, at the end of the day, they want real time information.

Redzone technology’s application provides a sense of comfort for mothers. It has the ability to map out patterns of crime, can identify, if followed consistently, where gangs are pervasive. Even more, it is possible to identify areas in which abduction has occurred as well as sexual assault. The use of real time data has a vital role for mothers seeking to protect their children. Redzone has the ability to alert mothers to potential harm, real time threat, and a heightened ability to protect their children. In this way, Redzone’s ability to map crime data in real time is an invaluable tool to mothers that could save lives. 

 

Martin Luther King’s Nightmare: Celebrants shot on National Holiday

The following article was written by Dr. Shawn Schwaner, Article Summary:

  • ­  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday shooting
  • ­  Stream Analysis of violent crime
  • ­  The police and Procedural Justice
  • ­  Building Community using RedZone

When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed that “I have a dream,” it was a call for peace. He noted that the great march had descended upon Washington D.C. to cash a “check that was returned for insufficient funds.” He noted, as did President Barack Obama in his 2008 victory speech that there is a “fierce urgency of now.” Dr. King was noting that the Civil Rights Movement was built around Thoreau’s idea of “civil disobedience” where protestors can speak in a democracy without fear of violent retaliation or repressive response. Of course, much like the Constitution, great thinkers and activists similarly believe that right to personal expression is central to freedom as men, and women, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sought income equality, racial justice, and the right to live without the fear of violence.

Image Credit: miamiherald.com

Image Credit: miamiherald.com

Thus, as we have recently celebrated Martin Luther King Day in the United States, violence and income inequity continue to challenge the full realization of the dream. Though there are streets and community centers named after the American icon, Dr. King’s dream still has miles to travel. As a matter of fact, the Martin Luther King celebration in Miami was abruptly interrupted with irony and nightmare when gunfire broke out in a Park named after King himself. To the consternation of bystanders and police eight people admiring the creed of one of America’s greatest leaders were shot and wounded by gunfire. His admonition to live peacefully was undermined in a grotesque display of overt and lethal violence.

News of the shooting spread to the news and was echoed in local businesses as well as public train and bus lines. Persons riding on the Miami Dade Transit Metrorail could be heard sharing their stories of awe and dismay at the outburst. Not only had violence broken out, it affected people who were miles away from the scene of the crime.

Certainly, in that violent moment, there were participants, bystanders, and others driving in their cars that were in the line of danger. Such events, though rare, in general, when they occur cause collateral chaos. Bystanders get injured, post­traumatic disorder arises, drivers get caught up in situations of imminent danger, and emergency personnel often cannot enter and effectively mobilize their resources to help those in most pressing need. The breakdown in communication can, and does, worsen an already bad situation.

RedZone has developed a real­time mapping and data identification system that permits members to obtain real­time notice that a “crime” event has taken place and the area should be avoided. Members who are on the scene can produce a “ping” that sends a warning to potential passers­by while providing alternative routes for those who are driving in the area. It can be safely asserted that the access to real­time crime data can help avert danger and in the extreme, save lives.

Incidents such as those at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Miami have a delirious effect of generating more fear of crime as well as strong and potentially targeted police response. As of January 24th, Miami­Dade Police Director Juan Perez, said, two people, a 17­-year-old and 18-year­old were arrested in the shooting. Community members, in the main, often want to place blame on the police for ineffective policing and call for town hall meetings, civilian reviews, and often, better training. In the aftermath of the Charles Kinsey shooting in North Miami, a Police Executive Research Forum was designed to provide the city with use of force and crisis intervention training review (2017, Dixon).

Officer Juan Perez said, “Enough is enough. The people are fed up with the violence,” said Perez. “If people use violence, force, we are going to hunt them down....What we ask is put the guns down. Stop the violence so we don’t have to have these conferences anymore.”

Though such training is important to such policing matters it makes a fundamental assumption about policing that is fallacious. Namely, it is typically impossible to be at the scene of a shooting because it is nearly impossible to predict what context is going to elicit the emotional response necessary for such outbursts. Thus, as is widely known, the police are forced by definition, to serve as a reactionary force.

As long as criminal justice practitioners response comes from a reactionary stance, it can only have little direct impact on fighting crime. Hiring more police, removing assault weapons, and the like, are often politically motivated perspectives based within a dominant “law and order” paradigm. Unfortunately, such practice creates a police­community division of “us” vs. “them.” After the Rodney King incident occurred in 1991 (reminiscent of the use of fire hoses during the Civil Rights Era and King’s ascent as one of its most prominent leaders) community policing became the rage.

While there are places and times in which “law and order” as well as “community policing” is needed, there is a new paradigm emerging called “crowdsourcing” that is becoming a part of the Miami vernacular, the use of procedural justice.

In a recent report written at the Miami-Dade College School of Justice for the City of Miami’s Goals not Guns initiative (Schwaner, Soccora, Pena, and Harrison, 2016), it was argued that a new perspective is needed in regard to police and community relationships. Procedural justice requires police transparency, respect, and to provide the community with a voice in processing and designing crime reduction initiatives.

It was suggested that there are underlying structural and cultural currents that shape the direction and strength of a crime river’s current. Fundamentally, the members of a community are linked together as a network that binds them together and serves as a buffer and inciter of behavior.

Unfortunately, the police are regarded in most models as standing on the banks waiting for crime to happen within the stream. The Procedural Justice model outlined by Goals not Guns suggest that it is imperative that the police stand in the stream with the community, interact at a real level, and use local social and cultural resources to curtail the letter of crime. Being a part of the communication system within the stream is proactive while waiting for a call to come in from a witness is reactive. It is likely that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he professed that he wanted his children to be “judged for the “content of their character and not the color of their skin” was suggesting that we should all be swimming in the same stream.

In this light, neither the community nor the police in isolation can curb the flow of violent crime. However, in working together and using targeted deterrence which relies upon hot spot crime maps, driving down the levels of crime can, and would, have a significant impact on the quality of life for many Americans. Tools such as Redzone can provide data to community members, the police, those who are planning to drive into and through neighborhoods, as well as neighbors themselves, information that builds community rather than breaks it.

RedZone’s interactive quality certainly has the breadth to aid in the reduction of crime as a communication device and warning system. When used as a tool of communication, Redzone has the utility of serving a crime reduction role that, at least, could avert such shootings at a celebration while realizing Dr. Kings vision of allowing “Light to Drive Out Hate.”