SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — A groundbreaking mobile app is headed to Syracuse with the goal of reducing gun violence and promoting community engagement. Its called “Hello Syracuse” and it is set to launch at this weekend’s Juneteenth celebrations in Syracuse.
Timothy Jennings-Bey is the creator of the app and Adam Peruta is the app developer.
Jennings-Bey has been doing community advocacy work in Syracuse for more than 20 years, specifically dealing with neighborhood conflict and violence. As part of the Trauma Response Team, he’s one of the first people at a crime scene, bringing hope and healing to victims of violent crimes.
“It is time for us to have the conversation on how to create the mechanics and operationalize how to redefine and change community,” Jennings-Bey said.
This is what prompted the creation of the Hello Syracuse mobile app that will send public safety alerts, like shots fired calls, so people know what’s going on in their neighborhood and also know that their family members are safe.
“You have bullets that are flying in the community, sometimes innocent people get hit and their cars are shot up with bullets,” Jennings-Bey said.
But that’s not the main focus of the app. The goal is community engagement, including a calendar of events in Syracuse and Onondaga County.
“Someone can read more information about an activity, say it’s visiting the farmers market in Downtown Syracuse, and they can upload a picture of themselves actually at the event,” Peruta said.
Those photos go to a social media feed within the app and you can see what others are doing around the city.
“It’s gamified in the sense that there’s a leader board so you can compare how many things you’ve done in the city to what your friends and others in the neighborhood have done,” Peruta explained.
Jennings-Bey said he hopes the app helps mobilize community members to come up with viable solutions to build a safer and stronger community.
There is also a list of resources on the app, like volunteer opportunities and counseling services to help those dealing with trauma.
Once it launches this weekend, Hello Syracuse will be available in various app stores. NewsChannel 9 will link you to the instructions after the launch.
For more local news, follow Jennifer Sanders on Twitter @JSandersNC9