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The controversial app for avoiding crime in your area is back in the App Store, and it’s now called ‘Citizen’

Last October, a new app appeared on the App Store aimed at preventing crime.

Called Vigilante, the app showed users where crime was happening in real time — and seemingly encouraged them to help stop it.

Vigilante went viral in less than two days, spreading quickly due to a controversial video that showed someone using the app to prevent a would-be mugging, filming the incident and scaring the assailant away.

But Vigilante had a short life span: The app was pulled from the App Store about 48 hours after it launched due to safety concerns.

Now, Vigilante is back on the App Store as Citizen, a crime avoidance tool for metropolitan areas. Here’s how it works.

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There are three major differences between Citizen and Vigilante, the first one being the change in name.

There are three major differences between Citizen and Vigilante, the first one being the change in name.

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Founder and CEO Andrew Frame told Business Insider that he felt the name Vigilante distracted people from the company’s core mission, which is to protect people and cities — not to encourage vigilantism.

Citizen also increased its safety messaging, making it clear that the app is only designed to keep you aware of crimes in your area, de-emphasizing the “vigilante” suggestion from the previous app.

Citizen also increased its safety messaging, making it clear that the app is only designed to keep you aware of crimes in your area, de-emphasizing the "vigilante" suggestion from the previous app.

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The third major change involved reaching out to public safety experts, police, and civil rights leaders — among others — to get input on how to make this app safe for people to use.

The third major change involved reaching out to public safety experts, police, and civil rights leaders — among others — to get input on how to make this app safe for people to use.

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For now, Citizen is only available in New York City — Frame said the company wants to prove the concept in New York first before taking it elsewhere.

“We do have demand to come to many cities across the country already and we do have that on the roadmap,” Frame said. But this will take time, he said, since Citizen does require physical infrastructure and set up in each individual city.

When you log on to Citizen, you’ll be able to see a real-time map of incidents in your area. Each red dot represents a separate incident.

When you log on to Citizen, you'll be able to see a real-time map of incidents in your area. Each red dot represents a separate incident.

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The “Recent” tab shows events chronologically, but the “Trending” tab opens up live events.

Here, you can chat with other users about what’s happening.

Here, you can chat with other users about what's happening.

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Some of the incidents have video that’s recorded by users, as well as a log of everything that’s happened, a map of where it’s occurring, and the option to record your own live video.

Some of the incidents have video that's recorded by users, as well as a log of everything that's happened, a map of where it's occurring, and the option to record your own live video.

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The crimes listed in Citizen are sourced from 911 calls. Things like false alarms, gas leaks, commercial burglary, minor car accidents, or suspicious bags will not appear on the app.

The crimes listed in Citizen are sourced from 911 calls. Things like false alarms, gas leaks, commercial burglary, minor car accidents, or suspicious bags will not appear on the app.

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“We have a criteria as to what goes into the app and what does not go into the app,” Frame said. “Our first focus is safety — user safety, officer safety — and our criteria is completely based on safety.”

Once a 911 call comes in, it’s put into the Citizen app. If you’re in a quarter-mile radius of the event, you’ll get a push notification on your phone.

Once a 911 call comes in, it's put into the Citizen app. If you're in a quarter-mile radius of the event, you'll get a push notification on your phone.

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Frame stresses that Citizen is an “awareness and avoidance” app. While Vigilante appeared to sign off on approaching crime scenes, Citizen is aimed at helping you steer clear.

Frame stresses that Citizen is an "awareness and avoidance" app. While Vigilante appeared to sign off on approaching crime scenes, Citizen is aimed at helping you steer clear.

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“We built this to protect people, to protect cities,” Frame said. “We want to use technology for good. That’s our goal.”

"We built this to protect people, to protect cities," Frame said. "We want to use technology for good. That’s our goal."

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Citizen is available for free in the App Store and the Google Play store.

Citizen is available for free in the App Store and the Google Play store.

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