Eight months after being launched in the County of Grande Prairie, the developer of the Lightcatch mobile app says it’s helping contribute to a dip in the regional crime rate.
CEO and Founder of Lightcatch Darren Boyer estimates between 1,000 and 2,000 people in the Grande Prairie area are users of the app, which was created with the goal of taking pressure off local authorities while providing a form of communication for residents to report incidents.
“I got the idea after owning an IT company in the Grande Prairie area. Several of our business customers reported they were victims of crime. After some trial and error, we realized the best way to carry out the idea was with people using their cell phones to report any victims of crime,” he says.
When you report something on the app, everyone who has the app within 20 kilometres of the reported incident receives an alert. In 2021, over 250 stolen items worth over $2.5 million have been recovered with the help of Lightcatch and its subscribers. The recovered items are totals from across western Canada.
“That type of deterrence is part of the reason that County of Grande Prairie residents has seen their crime rate lower than recent years,” he says.
Boyer understands that the police can’t be everywhere at once and hopes to provide assistance for authorities as well as residents through Lightcatch.
“It helps tremendously, we had an incident in Red Deer in January where ten stolen vehicles were recovered within 12 days. We saw multiple comments on the app of people thanking community members who spotted their stolen vehicle,” he explains. “Police were able to come in and intercept that with the information provided by the community.”