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New app aims to stop crime and terrorist attacks at military bases

The app builds on the Department of Homeland Security's "See Something, Say Something" campaign.

The U.S. Army isusing anewcrimereportingapplication for smartphones called "iWatch Army" at 17 U.S.basesto boost its anti-terrorism and anti-crimeefforts, with another 100militarybaseslikely to follow suit this year, theapp's developer said.

Omar Leeman, chief executive of CloseWatch Inc, told Reuters the privately-held firm had already gotten inquiries from additional Armybases, the Air Force, and increasingly security-consciousprivate companies.

Eventually, he said, CloseWatch hopes to expanduse of thecrimetips and analytics platform to 500 U.S.militarybasesand 3,000 overseasbasesrun by the U.S.militaryand allies.

The U.S.militaryhas been on high alert for possibleattacksat U.S. locations after incidents such as the July 2015 shooting rampage that killed five servicemembers at twomilitaryoffices in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the 2009 shooting at a U.S. Army base in Fort Hood, Texas.

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Leeman said the company'sapphad already helped authoritiesthwartpotentialattacksand bullying behavior at hundreds of schools in North Carolina and Texas through anonymousor named tips submitted by video and text message.

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Theappbuilds on the Department of Homeland Security's "See Something, Say Something" campaign.

"iWatch brings the concept of the neighborhood watch to the Facebook generation," said CloseWatch founder Daniel Elliott, a telecommunications executive who was driven to create better communications tools for law enforcement after his brother's fiancée was murdered in 1989, and he was robbed at gunpoint.

The iWatch systemuses algorithms to automatically analyze inbound tips based on the FBI'scrimereporting codes and then forwards them to theappropriate agencies, or officers - all in the space of eight seconds.

U.S. Army Materiel Command spokeswoman Lisa Simunaci said the Army had spent about $145,000 on the system thusfar, and was evaluatinguse of theappbefore expanding the program.

To guard against false alerts or racially biased tips, for instance against people with beards or head coverings, the Army had emphasized to employees that it was looking for behaviors rather thanappearance, she said.

Leeman said the system is also primed to be alert for potentially problematic repeat tips from a single source.

CloseWatch said it planned to expand the platform and mobileappusing a $1.49 million round of seed funding from angel investors and ECAP Holdings.

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