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Will "Getting Arrested” Apps Change How Bail Works?

During the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in September of 2011 and stretched across the country, at least 7,000 protesters have been arrested for civil disobedience. This rash of arrests is nothing new considering that people have been protesting and getting arrested for centuries.

What is unusual is that today’s tech-savvy protesters have begun using smartphone applications (apps) that alert the person’s friends, loved ones and legal representation that the person is being taken into police custody. The use of these smartphone apps represents a shift in how quickly people are able to deal with being arrested and securing bail.

You might be wondering whether these apps will have any impact on your bail agency. Because we are extremely interested in how technology is shaping the bail world, AboutBail has decided to take a look at how these apps work and whether they will affect your bail agency.

What is a smartphone app?

A smartphone application is a program that you can download on your phone. These programs can accomplish most tasks including finding the cheapest local gas prices, managing your social media profiles and even telling you the name of that familiar song playing through a restaurant’s speakers. The phrase “there’s an app for that” was coined because people have created smartphone apps to help you with just about anything you can think of.

The Apple iPhone alone boasts more than 500,000 apps available for download and other phone platforms offer many more, so the number of apps is growing quickly every day. And now, people have created apps that are changing how people initially deal with getting arrested.

How do arrest apps work?

Until recently, a person who was taken into custody most likely had to wait for up to a few hours to make a phone call informing someone about the arrest. With the creation of arrest apps, all the arrestee has to do is press a button on their phone to alert friends, family members or attorneys.

The principle behind the app is simple: all the person has to do is program in the phone numbers of the people they want to alert, and then enter a customized text message such as, “I am being arrested and could use your help.” When the handcuffs are about to be slapped on, all the person has to do is press a large button on the phone and the message will be sent to the specified numbers. Examples of these arrest apps that are available for download include:

  • Busted - This app will text and email your selected contacts when you press the button. If the person so chooses, this app can also automatically contact the highest ranked local bail agent and attorney.

          Busted Iphone App arrest apps bail agents

  • I’m Getting Arrested - This smartphone app alerts contacts and even includes a map to show the arrestee’s location.

          I'm Getting Arrested app bail agents


How will these apps affect your bail agency?

Although technology is going to play a much larger role in the bail world in the future, these smartphone apps are probably not going to affect your bail business much. It might be faster and easier for people to alert others of their arrest, but their emergency contacts are still going to search for local bail agents the same way- by searching the Internet.

People turn to the Internet to find bail agents because it allows them to quickly search for, compare and contact the closest and most highly recommended bail agents around them. This means that you should focus your efforts on building a highly visible online presence for your bail agency so that you show up when people search for agencies in your area.

One of the first steps you should take is to become an AboutBail member, which instantly increases your online exposure and establishes you as part of the trusted network of bail professionals. 

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