Imagine an app that gives teachers a one button call for help or can send an alert to place a school on lockdown. When minutes matter, getting notifications out as fast as humanly possible saves lives.

When a police department in south Florida first approached me with this idea, they came at it based on their needs in covering a shopping mall. Their problem was that gangs of marauders would come into the mall and would operate like this:

  • 20 or so people would casually enter the mall posing as individual shoppers
  • Then, upon some signal, a group of them would be the noise makers and scream and holler and knock over trash cans and create a ruckus
  • From there some of the "shoppers" would quietly prey on the shocked onlookers and steal the wallets from purses or the entire purse and sometimes even the purchases from the shelf under the baby stroller
  • Others would grab the high end items just inside the door of the shops
  • Then everyone would make their escape.

This police department wanted an app that mall employees could use that would alert all the employees and staff in ALL the shops and notify the security staff and police. A one button call for help in the hands of employees.

Why notify ALL the shops you ask? Because the minute the noise started, not even those shops on the other end of the mall were immune. Once the police and security were off dealing with those criminals making the ruckus, another group would quietly hit the end where no noise was being made.

Over the years since I was first asked for this app, the above situation has become even worse and has spread nationwide (see San Francisco). Schools have become more dangerous. Hospitals are known to be incredibly dangerous places to work (yeah, I didn't know that either).

All of this has caused me to do a complete rethink of the original problem and expand how TapToReport could be used and by whom. Since I started the project, my original work has been derailed by a heart procedure and a few bouts with cancer but today, I'm back on the job and moving forward as rapidly as I can.

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returned coordinates: 39.039474,-77.491809

testing to see if it's already in the DB

Already in DB as 1 so record is being updated