Enjoy life. Worry free.
Enjoy life. Worry free.
My name is Darren Boyer, CEO & Founder of Lightcatch.
I had owned an IT company for 10 years that had long term stable customers. During this time, our customers would hit us with requests to get their cameras up and working after a theft. We didn’t supply or support these systems, but we dealt so many of with these requests that we began to feel like that there was a real opportunity.
Then one day, an idea struck me...“Since everyone carried a mobile phone around in their pocket, why don’t we let everyone nearby know what is happening? Why don’t we enable them to provide live updates of a suspect’s location, so that these updates could easily reach new people when the criminals move into their regions? If we could use the mapping features on their mobile phone, then the police will know exactly where to go.“
Based on this premise, I decided to create the free Lightcatch app. We had almost zero support as the concept was so new and different. After hundreds of conversations I finally said - ‘What if I just built this myself?’ For me, this world first concept represented the chance of a lifetime.
From there, the free Lightcatch app was born. It has had some amazing success. It was featured in many news articles. It had tens of thousands of downloads, and hundreds of successful results every year. People from all over the country contacted us, wanting to know more.
It was so clear, the world would never go back to an old way of doing things, once they seen how well this technology worked.
Tom was right
Less than 1 year after we started, we were getting 41% of the stolen items recovered through the app. and this was all for free. We were celebrating - I mean criminals were losing over 40% of the time. Sometimes it was less than 3 minutes after the stolen item was found and the police recovered it. The service seemed unstoppable.
Then one day I got a call from Tom, a member of our Advisory Board. Tom was a 30 year veteran of the Calgary Police Service. He sounded polite but wasn’t so happy. He wanted to see some drastic changes take place. Tom observed that while the app was performing well, it was falling short of its true potential. The problem was -everyone was using the app in a different way when they reported something. While some victims had great pictures, others had none. Some would be very emotional and write a long description while others would put in nothing. In many cases, it was even hard to figure out what the creator wanted.
How people were using the app was actually hurting the victims that really needed the most help. Tom wanted us to make everyone’s alerts the same, at our own expense. “Put the information the way the police would want to see it,” he advised. And then he showed us how to do that.
It's Never Easy
Over the next few months, the app’s success rate jumped from 41% to as much as 80% of all stolen items being recovered!
Enforcement services across different regions got really excited and started to recommend the Lightcatch app to the communities that they served. More and more Rural Crime Watch groups were recommending the app to their members. A few police detachments even began recommending that every new member get the app.
While this all seemed so good, there were still some big problems that were costing people dearly. I kept seeing them over and over again
99% of crimes had no clear video of the suspect and the crime
93% of thefts were being reported over 1 hour late.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on why these reporting stats looked so bad. It was happening all over, in cities and in rural areas.
Then it Hit Me.
The majority of victims thought their method of home security was ‘good enough’. Yet the data showed that the security systems they thought were helping them, were actually helping the criminals.
Let me explain, take the case of a homeowner buying a highly rated AI powered do it yourself security camera. They will then get alerts to their mobile phone if a human or vehicle enter the sight of that camera.
Those alerts will compete and sound like all the other alerts coming in to their phone such as a texts, apps and email.
Since most property crimes take less than 10 minutes, and crime happens 24 hours per day, it becomes impossible for the majority of people to see every meaningful notice from that camera day and night, and then move fast enough to stop a crime on their property with this kind of a system.
Homeowners often go years between property crime problems, so having one person properly and instantly respond when it is needed becomes even more unrealistic.
In fact, this problem has gotten so big it is kind of surprising how it just snuck up on everyone. Every morning in NY City alone, the police wake up, trying to catch the bad guys. And every morning, these same thieves go out and steal another 90,000 packages.
This happens on a daily basis.
Instead of being afraid of the police, doorbell cameras, Facebook, and other apps like Next Door the criminals just don’t care. They get up and they steal another 90,000 packages.
There is not just the 389,000 package thefts in America every day. There are also the vehicle thefts, catalytic convertor thefts, fuel thefts, holiday trailer thefts, ATV thefts, bicycle thefts, thefts of items from inside your garage, plus thefts from criminals breaking into homes and businesses.
The problem hindering the police from making an instant arrest is almost always the same.
The reporting of the event is too slow, the quality of the proof, and the quality of the reporting is not very good.
Even though the USA and Canada have different laws, different police forces, different rules about guns, and self-defense, none of that seems to matter when it comes to stopping hard working people from being targeted.
Many of these crimes are committed by desperate addicts, which means that they are not sophisticated. They are just desperate people who are willing to try anything.
The scars these kinds of crime can leave behind to the victims can run really deep. Sometimes the impact lasts well over 10 years, even if no one was hurt.
Despite the explosion in smartphones and great cameras the sickening pattern of theft has barely changed.
What started out as an app has become a mission to help people learn what really changes the safety level of their property. I hope you can get the benefit of this these break through lessons. I believe together we can change the world.
All the best,