Student Gains National Attention for Lifesaving Smartphone App

Thursday, March 22, 2012
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UNH Law student

Eman Pahlevani

Twenty-five-year-old Eman Pahlevani has his hands full these days: By day, he’s a third-year student at UNH Law and a member of the school’s Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program. In his spare time, he’s developed — with his brother and a friend — a smartphone app called CrimePush that allows people to report a crime discretely with the push of a button. The new app has gained instant popularity with police departments and universities across the country, and when Eman’s not in class, he’s fielding phone calls from media and entities interested in partnering with his fledgling company.

CrimePush came about after Eman’s brother, Shyan, was accosted by three people at gunpoint while getting out of his car. “He got away and he wasn’t harmed,” Eman says, “but it was scary.”

The incident got the brothers thinking about whether technology could have helped the police find Shyan’s attackers. They teamed up with several friends whose skills were a good fit, and over the course of several months, CrimePush was born. The brothers, who are from the Washington, DC, area, launched the new app there at the beginning of February.

Eman and his brother were not prepared for the incredible speed at which CrimePush caught on: After meeting with a few universities, school districts and police departments to discuss possibilities, local media picked up the story, and then “it sort of snowballed,” Eman says. CrimePush has been featured in more than 50 stories by television, print and online media outlets, including and New England Cable News. The app, which is available for free, has been downloaded more than 50,000 times, and CrimePush has gotten requests from all over the country — and world: Bangladesh and the Philippines both want to sign on.

CrimePush Smartphone AppThe app’s success lies partly in its ease of use: Users are taken to a main menu that allows them to choose whether they would like to report a theft, threat, or altercation, sexual abuse, a medical emergency, an accident, vandalism, drugs or harassment. From there, users are directed to a screen that allows them to type a text message detailing the incident, and to take a photo or record video or audio directly from their smartphone.

With 100 million smartphone users in the U.S., and younger generations who might not be as inclined to call 911 when they see a problem, the app makes sense, Eman says. It allows people to report a crime while remaining anonymous, and the GPS-driven data it sends out makes it easier for a police department to verify the accuracy of the report.

More than 500 universities and police departments have contacted CrimePush to find out how they can integrate with the app, and Eman says he’s heard from police departments in every state.

Eman credits UNH Law with giving him the foundation to develop CrimePush. His Business Transactions course helped him to create a business around the app, he says, and he capitalized on the school’s expertise in intellectual property in tapping professors and fellow students for help in obtaining a provisional patent for CrimePush.

After graduation, Eman has no plans to slow down: He plans to continue his work on CrimePush, and he also wants to practice immigration law.

Professor John Garvey, who heads the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program, has no doubt that his student will find a successful balance.

“Eman will be a great lawyer because he is competent, conscientious and cares deeply about helping others,” he says. “Developing an app like CrimePush is totally in character.”