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US Army turns to phone app to prevent base attacks

Tips from iWatch Army could thwart shootings before they start.
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Neighborhood watch apps aren't just for civilian streets. The US Army has forged a deal with CloseWatch to use a mobile crime reporting app, iWatch Army, to prevent mass shootings and other crimes at over 20 domestic bases. The software forwards tips (based on the FBI's own crime codes) to the appropriate unit in less than 8 seconds, or faster than a 911 call. It also has its own notifications, so you can get an alert if there's a credible threat. While iWatch Army isn't meant to replace emergency services, it could be crucial to catching terrorists before they're ready to strike.

The initial launch is modest given the size of the armed forces, but CloseWatch tells Reuters that further Army bases and the Air Force are already asking about using the app themselves. The ultimate goal is to make iWatch the go-to crime prevention tool for the US military and its allies. That's a tall order, but it may be realistic in an era when many soldiers are more comfortable with sending text messages than making phone calls.

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