Get Wired: Citizen and the Bizarre World of Live-Streamed Crime
Play • 24 min

The idea behind the Citizen app is that its users upload videos of the things that are going on in the neighborhood in real time — anything from as a gas leak to something potentially a lot more violent. It's an app built on the premise that the more information a community has the better off it is, but it also comes with all of the trappings and problems of a lot of community surveillance — the app has some toxic comments, it can lead to racial profiling, and it has sparked a lot of discussion about who’s benefitting most from all of these neighborhood alerts — the users, law enforcement, or Citizen itself. WIRED's Boone Ashworth has spent months on the Citizen app, trying to better understand exactly what its mission is, and what this kind of hyper-vigilance does to our psyches. But he's also been talking to people who are on the app, who rush to the scene to capture what’s going on in their neighborhoods; and he found one who is particularly interesting, and who agreed to take us behind the scenes.

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