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York College's J.D. Brown Center home to company that created free app to connect residents, police departments

April 12, 2019
Matt Bloom, CrimeWatch

York College's J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship is incubating a company that has created a free app to connect residents and police departments.

Crimewatch Technologies alerts citizens to police information like criminal activity and road closures and allows them to report crime or incidents, according to CEO Matt Bloom. "Crimewatch is the future of public safety, building transparency and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve," he said. "Designed for sharing criminal justice information across the web, it helps police protect information online, while building a powerful public safety network of concerned citizens throughout the community."

The company launched in 2009 as a magazine distributed through retail locations in Pennsylvania. The publication balanced detailed offender information with thoughtful editorial content about human services issues that were not covered by mainstream media. "The magazine was extremely popular," Bloom said, "but our format made it hard to find advertisers. After a distribution problem in 2011, we decided to stop the magazine and relaunch as a technology company." 

That decision was made when Bloom recognized that police departments were struggling to collect and organize information, and that smartphones and social media provided a way to connect localized public safety information with people in any community. After legislative changes designated most crime-related information part of the public record, he and others in the company started building a technology to organize the police record information and strategically distribute it to the public.

Crimewatch is in nearly 170 communities in three states, including Pennsylvania. "Our technology is a growing presence in York County, with Spring Garden, Fairview, West York, West Manchester and Newberry townships all using it," Bloom said. "We are looking to expand adoption even more this year throughout York, because it is already having a powerfully positive affect on public safety, and the word is spreading."

In addition to an expanding market, the move to York and to the J.D. Brown Center made good sense for other reasons, Bloom said. "One of my mentors -- Mark Zeleznock, CEO of DataForma -- has a successful company headquartered at the Center," Bloom said. " And building a business, accessing talent and resources, having an ecosystem that saves founders time and money are essential to success. This includes having a thriving feeder system to identify and recruit talent as well as access business mentors like Mark. We have that with York College, and in York, we see an opportunity to join a city on the rise."

"We are ecstatic to have Matt and the Crimewatch team partnering with us at the Brown Center," said York College Assistant Vice President for External Relations Jeff Vermeulen. "Whether it's engineering, computer science, or data analytics, many of our students will have the opportunity to work with a dynamic leader and company. We can't wait to help take them to the next level."

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