Incident-Tracking App Pays Users $25 per Hour to Livestream Crime Scenes, House Fires: Report

By Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'
July 26, 2021 Updated: July 26, 2021

Crime and incident-tracking app Citizen is offering up to $25 per hour for people in New York and Los Angeles to livestream videos from the scenes of crimes and other incidents, such as house fires, according to the New York Post.

The app, which is billed as “the most powerful safety app for today’s world,” lets users receive real-time safety alerts and live video footage of incidents happening near them.

“Citizen notifications have urged people to evacuate burning buildings, deterred school buses from nearby terrorist attacks, and have even led to a rescue of a 1-year-old from a stolen car,” the company states in its app description on Google Play store.

The app sends notifications to nearby users whenever a 911 call reports an alleged crime or emergency affecting public safety. It also lets users upload video footage from the scene. But while the video reports have normally been uploaded by volunteers who happen to be in the vicinity, Citizen is now looking for full-time staff who would go to locations, stream live content, and cover the events as news.

A Citizen spokesperson told the Post that the company has hired casting agency Flyover Entertainment to run an ad for full-time “field team members,” who would be the app’s “official on-the-ground presence, generating live content to give users real-time information on what’s going on in their city as it unfolds.”

Such staffers will be paid $250 per day for a 10-hour shift in Los Angeles, and $200 per day for an eight-hour shift in New York, according to the ad. While Citizen is currently looking for staff in New York and Los Angeles, “other top 10 markets will be added soon,” the listing notes.

“The app will never ask you to go to an actively dangerous location. You will be behind established media lines, behind police tape. You will be live-streaming from your phone straight to the app, covering the event as news,” the ad states.

The Citizen app launched in 2016 as “Vigilante,” but was removed from Apple’s App Store shortly afterward amid criticism, including by law enforcement, that it encouraged people to put themselves in harm’s way.

Several months later, it relaunched as Citizen, and, in May, it again ran into controversy when it misidentified a homeless person as the source of a wildfire in California, posting photos of the man and offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Several days later, a different suspect was arrested for the crime, with Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Jim Brandon telling reporters at a press conference that Citizen’s action was potentially “disastrous,” according to CBS.

Tom Ozimek
Tom Ozimek
Reporter
Tom Ozimek has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education. The best writing advice he's ever heard is from Roy Peter Clark: 'Hit your target' and 'leave the best for last.'