During a recent meeting with the Mayors’ Council of Guam, a group of developers unveiled plans to introduce a new public safety app that provides a virtual platform for the community to report crimes, dangerous events, and suspicious activities directly to the authorities.
Called the Hands-On Information app or HOI — the new citizen reporting system is available to residents of Guam and the CNMI. Through the app, users can connect to their respective Homeland Security offices, Police Department, Fire Department, and even agencies in charge of utilities and public works.
The HOI app has geolocation properties, which pinpoints user location to help with any emergency reporting. It also notifies the user of any related incidents reported by other users within the affected area.
Aside from its citizen reporting and geolocation systems, the HOI app has the following user-preference settings:
- Photo report – allow users to snap a photo of the event, add details, and report to authorities;
- Action report – allow users to access the event options to choose an event type (burglary, assault etc…), then add photo and details;
- Notification listing – includes an automatic notification feature of events related to the reported incident.
Eddy Reyes, president of Flame Tree Freedom Center, one of the project proponents, provided an overview of the app.
“This is a very robust — what we call — an e-community alert system that is really designed to address issues and provide the technology that is available so that the government can communicate directly to the public and vice versa. This is essentially designed to take into account everything that happens up in Civil Defense but the nice thing about it is that it was designed with the neighborhood watch program in mind,” Reyes said.
Frank Arriola, of Menhalom LLC, the developer of the app, describes how the app supports current public safety initiatives implemented by the village mayors
“Because of the recent rise in the crime rates that is why this was put together. We know that every single village has a very robust neighborhood watch program. I see the signs up there. I hear about the WatsApp chat groups. This particular mobile application complements everything you have out there today,” Arriola said.
He describes the app as a “force multiplier.”
“When it comes to criminal activity. A thousand, two thousand, two thousand and five, ten thousand people download this app. That’s ten thousand more pairs of eyeballs that are out there to help us govern our island,” he added.
According to the developers, the app has already been beta-tested and they are currently rolling out the public relations component of the project to raise awareness.