NEW APP AIMS TO TACKLE KNIFE CRIME IN THE UK
In an effort to combat knife crime in the UK, the London Metropolitan Police has collaborated with London-based creative agency Atomic to release an app that alerts both the police and neighbours when users have a ‘Hunch’ that trouble is coming their way.
According to the MP of Wimbledon in London, Stephen Hammond, 2017 saw the largest rise in knife crime ever recorded with numbers rising 22% across England and Wales. Hunch helps empower citizens to take control of their own safety and provides the authorities with extra eyes and ears across the UK.
While it is not meant to serve as a replacement to calling 999 or 101 in an emergency, free, anonymous and available for both iPhone and Android phones, Hunch allows anyone to anonymously tag a location and alert the police and other users that an area is temporarily unsafe.
Instead of tackling knife crime by dealing with those who commit these crimes, according to a spokesperson for Atomic, the agency “thought it would be beneficial to involve and empower the other people who do not carry knives but are fed up with knife crime ruining communities and young lives.”
Although a collaboration between the police force and a creative agency is somewhat unusual, the two organisations have found an innovative way to work together. Creating a solution for a national growing concern, Atomic has helped the London Metropolitan Police serve its purpose by improving its abilities to fight crime. Though the app was developed in collaboration with the Metropolitan Police, its independence means users will retain their anonymity.
In order to limit public panic and misuse, the app has its limitations. A user has a maximum of three Hunches per hour and can only Hunch in his/her current location to alert those within 300m of the area. The Hunch also lasts only for an hour as to not ward off people from an area for too long. When used responsibly, Hunch could serve as powerful tool that puts an end to situations before they unfold and provides the police with potential leads for investigations.