Earning Public Trust

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot7/10/2014
anonymous handshake

In the United States today, trust in government at the state and local levels is at an all-time low. In fact, a recent study by the Pew Research center reveals that a staggering 80 percent of citizens “never trust” the government.

Unfortunately, this public distrust seems to be trickling down from the government and spreading to other agencies – especially police departments.

Though there is not a clear explanation for why the public feels this way, certain events provide clarity. Six police officers in Wilmington, Delaware, were questioning a suspect in a local neighborhood when shots fired on the group, wounding a state trooper. Despite multiple witnesses, not a single person came forward – and the gunman still walks the streets.

The Wilmington police department provided two reasons for this: fear of reprisal and lack of trust. Residents are not even comfortable using the anonymous reporting lines, let alone coming forward publicly. Because of this distrust, key eyewitness accounts are regularly not reported.   

While a lack of reporting may appear to only be an issue under limited circumstances, there is a growing and real concern that the pervasive distrust of public safety authorities is compromising our collective safety.  And while we can’t easily change public opinion, we can provide solutions.

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sci-Shot, a Community Watch Mobile App provides the public with a non-intimidating, convenient, and trusted alternative for getting critical information into the hands of Public Safety Stewards.  With little more than a quick picture or video, citizens can report threatening or illegal incidents from within the Crowd, anonymously, with little effort, and with no consequence.  Trust is critical to sci-Shot Users, so ongoing investment in technologies to ensure anonymity is paramount.  A User’s identification is never stored within sci-Shot’s database, and all Media and Data is encrypted in motion and at rest.

sci-Shot has also partnered with organizations that place the same value on earning and keeping public trust – among them is Crime Stoppers. In fact, a program director for the Miami-Dade County branch recently made headlines for “eating evidence” in court to avoid revealing the identity of a tipster.
Become an App User to help keep our communities free from crime, our streets free from hazards and our neighbors free from harm.

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