Toledo, OH - There is now a service that allows you to get up-to-the-minute crime alerts in your own neighborhood as they are being reported.
Eyecitizen.org is a website that allows you to register your email address and phone number to receive notification when 911 call come in for certain crimes like robbery or murder.
The Toledo city council approved $50,000 for local company Tele-Home LLC to expand its coverage on crime alerts through texts or email.
"It's intended to be what I commonly refer to as an active block-watch," says City Councilman Tom Waniewski, "letting folks know what's happening in their area based on 911 calls."
But Mayor Mike Bell vetoed the funding after a potential conflict of interest was found with Waniewski. It turns out that Waniewski owns 1% in Tele-Home.
To avoid controversy, he did abstained when the council voted on the matter, but the mayor didn't want to raise the potential problems.
"There was never anything nefarious about what I was doing," says Waniewski. He says the idea was always based on good intentions, which were originally meant to take care of his own constituents in his district.
He says the software is brilliant though. It allows residents to easily register, then by typing in an address, delegate specific neighborhoods from where they will receive crime alerts.
Waniewski explains, "It'll automatically bring in the calls within a half square mile of the address you put in."
Now, despite losing the city funding, the company in charge of the software is going to foot-the-bill itself, which to Waniewski says lets him have a breath of fresh air.
The mayors office says, though Bell didn't approve the funds, he completely supports the program.
Waniewski believes it is a great product that could put Toledo on the map technologically. He adds that the people in the city have called for this service and he is happy to deliver.
The service is now being expanded for free to the citizens, so you can stay informed, and act as an extra pair of eyes for police when crime happens in your area.
While Waniewski says he understands, and takes full responsibility for the misunderstanding, he stand fully behind the product, whether he had stake in it or not.