Google's Waze app to prevent hit-and-runs and kidnappings in LA

5-5-2015 11:08 | Views: 2668


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on April 21, 2015 the agreement between Google’s traffic app Waze and the City of Los Angeles. Waze app, which was created in 2008 in Israel and was sold to Google in 2013, is a traffic and navigation app that helps all its users share road information and traffic patterns information live. Besides Los Angeles, there are 30 cities all over the world that already use Google’s app Waze.

Google’s app intends to make driving experience better by giving drivers in Los Angeles the opportunity to alert LA Police Department about hit-and-runs and kidnappings.  The app, which will provide drivers with plenty of information about road closures, will also help reduce congestion and increase public safety. 

According to Mayor Garcetti the app is going to feature ‘hit-and-run incident notifications’ to all users of Waze app that are driving near accident scenes. In this way all drivers that use this app will be able to report incidents they witness to the police right away by just sending an incident notification through the app and sharing the necessary information with Los Angeles Police Department. The app, besides being the very first app to feature ‘hit -and-run incident notifications’, will also increase public safety in LA in the coming months by featuring AMBER Alerts as well.   

Los Angeles City ranks first in the United States with the highest number of Waze users and second in the world after Sao Paolo.

“The Waze app is used by more than 1.3 million drivers in L.A. to avoid traffic, find alternative routes, and report issues to other drivers. Under the new agreement, the City of L.A. will provide data to Waze from across city departments-- including information about road closures, construction, and safety hazards -- so drivers can avoid blocked streets and congestion,”  Garcetti said in a press release.

Di-Ann Eisnor, Waze’s Head of Growth said that all shared data given to LA city is ‘anonymous’ and doesn’t reveal the names and personal data of individual drivers that use the app.

Last December, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck wrote a letter to Google’s CEO about how Waze’s ability to track various people’s locations put police officers’ lives at risk. The letter followed the shootings of two New York Police Department Officers on December 20, 2014. The shooter had used Waze app to track the police officer’s locations and monitor their moves.

Garcetti said that there have been various conversations between Waze and  the Police Departement. “We are going to look at other data, like police stations and others that are close by — so that people will know — and have kind of a more robust presence … where policing can help add to safety on the streets,” he said. 

(Picture Source: Reuters/Paul Vreeker)

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