Hampstead and Highgate entrepreneurs to launch crime-tracking app Curbism

Curbism founders Hywel Jones and Dagmawi Belay and a preview of the app's interface.

Curbism founders Hywel Jones and Dagmawi Belay and a preview of the app's interface. - Credit: Curbism

A pair of entrepreneurs from Hampstead and Highgate have created a new app designed to help communities track crime hotspots. 

Hywel Jones and Dagmawi Belay are looking to launch Curbism in Camden in "mid-to-late Spring" and they're calling it the "Waze for crime".

The idea is to allow members of the public to use the mapping app to see where recent crimes have been reported so they can avoid any specific areas known to be high-risk.

They will also be able to report crimes on the app, though Hywel and Dagmawi stressed the app wasn't a replacement for policing.

What Curbism's new app may look like.

What Curbism's new app may look like. - Credit: Curbism

Hywel, the chief development officer, was inspired to create the app when his teenage son was mugged at knife point in Primrose Hill, in a spot he later found had seen a number of muggings in the weeks prior.

He told the Ham&High: "My son was just in Primrose Hill. We thought: 'that's a great area, nothing to worry about'. He was walking down a road and had the feeling that something was not quite right. And he ended up being mugged. 

"As the weeks went on, we just had one of those conversations stick with me. If he had known then that other attacks had happened on that corner he could have gone a different way. I had been involved in a few small businesses before and the idea just started to bubble away."

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Hywel said he wanted to create an app for "the young generation" to make it easily accessible. The team are hoping to work with local councils and police officers as they roll it out this year.

"I think it's an idea that resonates with many people," Hywel added. "It's a way to help so that parents aren't scared every time their child goes out on to the streets. 

"It's absolutely not about scaring people, it's about being able to say: 'look, these are the facts'."

Hywel Jones and Dagmawi Belay of Curbism

Hywel Jones and Dagmawi Belay of Curbism. - Credit: Curbism

Crime location data is published by the Mayor's Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC), but it is not real-time and Hywel and Dagmawi want to make it easier to access.

Swiss Cottage native and former North Bridge House pupil Dagmawi is the CEO. He has been involved in a number of start-ups. He added: "Hywel mentioned the idea to me, and what was supposed to be a quick chat went on for four hours. 

"I remember how it felt to be growing up in this area, and when we were planning things I thought 'this is something I would have loved to have growing up'."

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