Phone stolen? There’s a Twitter account for that

We all inevitably know someone who has had their mobile phone, wallet, or oyster card stolen.

Despite all the technology available today, there still isn’t an easy way to be alerted to the dangers around us.

To inform the community about crime sprees and any potential dangers around the corner, Tech City Alert has been started.

Crime around East London

It is the brainchild of TechCrunch Editor-at-Large Mike Butcher and Catch London founder Matthew Gardiner, the latter of whom had his phone stolen last week and turned to Twitter to tackle crime.

The idea is simple: Bringing publicly available information direct to the masses so they can avoid being victims of crime.

The concept is based on a similar account that Butcher had seen work very effectively in alerting people to spikes in crime.

How it works

Currently, the Tech City Alert account retweets relevant information to keep Tech City people safe. It includes Shoreditch, Hackney, Islington and surrounding areas.

In Hackney alone, there were almost three thefts a day in August 2014.

The alerts are basic, but in time Gardiner has plans to integrate lots of freely available data to help people, including tracking the safest routes to walk around certain areas.

How to benefit

Gardiner explained that the best way to use the service is to sign up to SMS alerts from the Twitter account. That way, you will be notified the second there is an alert.

The police have thus far been supportive of the idea, which will undoubtedly grow in the coming weeks and months as Gardiner adds more features to the alerts.

There is one downside. In its current form, all the retweets are manual. Once Gardiner goes to sleep the account comes to a standstill.

It’s not a problem though, as Gardiner tells us he doesn’t sleep that much.