Rio de Janeiro is one of the cities with most shootings reported every day. Gunfire exchanges between criminals and police happen a lot in the city and they are always dangerous since residents can be injured or even killed. One app plans to change all that by helping people avoid the areas where shootings are being reported.
The app is called OTT (Onde Tem Tiroteio), which translates to where shootings are happening. The app was created by a group of residents, who are now getting the help of many others living in the city. The app receives information from residents and that information is displayed on the app in just a few seconds. Residents report where the shootings are happening and the app lets everyone know the area. The creator of the app, Efe Benito Quintanilha, said during an interview that he thought of the idea when he saw a news report about a victim who had been hit by a bullet. He thought of an app that would alert Rio’s population of shootings.
Residents often use social media to warn others about shootings and other incidents but sometimes the information is posted minutes or hours later. The app is different as the information is posted right after the reports from residents are received. Benito contacted two friends to get help for the app. They all work on different things for the app. Benito and his friend work on receiving the messages from residents while a few others work on support and the administrative section. Millions of people now receive the alerts from the app. Benito says they now have WhatsApp group chats with thousands of people reporting shootings or other incidents.
The group chats are divided by different areas of the city and they have strict rules so the information they receive is accurate. Benito and his friends admit that the app and the level of violence in the streets of Rio gives them little time to rest but they are happy that their creation is helping residents avoid the danger.