“Citizen, and the premium version, is not a cure. It won’t fix the world’s problems. It does not stop crime from happening in the world. That’s not it,” says Chandler. But it’s a very powerful way for marginalized communities to make their voices heard.
“Unfortunately, the Chinese have no help.”
” Saying Idea It’s civically enlightened… I came here with a healthy dose of skepticism because of the diversity of our community,” says OCA’s Kosai. “One of the things I always think about is, how accessible is it to the most vulnerable members?”
He said the Asian community in the US includes “50 different ethnicities and 100 different languages” and that “diverse communities interact with local law enforcement on these public safety issues.”
Citizen is currently only available in English. To be truly effective, it needs to offer its services in Chinese or other Asian languages, said Jessica Chen, executive director of the Auckland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. (In an email, Citizen Stone said it is “actively investing” in natural language processing that “allows us to translate the app into multiple languages in real time,” but did not provide details or a timeline on those efforts.)
And logistically, helping team members use technology can be difficult when they have varying levels of technical and news literacy. Senior citizens in particular need help navigating anything from registering to a forum to interpreting the information brought to their attention.
“Do I have time to teach them? Am I the right person to teach them?” asks Chen.
Josephine Hui, 75, who has lived in Oakland for four decades and regularly commutes to Chinatown to work as a financial educator, was among several seniors who learned about the app at a citizen-sponsored event organized by Asians. The Crime Committee, a nonprofit that deals with safety issues in Oakland, and the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. She was there to see public safety briefings by the Oakland Police Department.
“I think [Citizen] It’s a great app for people walking the streets,” she told me there. Unfortunately, they don’t have a Chinese assistant yet.