The owner of an Edmond security company is ready to go global with his crime-solving social network, Crimeseen.com.
Two years ago, Paul Conrady had trouble getting sponsors for the site, which allows users to post surveillance footage of crimes, asking the community to help identify suspects. Now, people in markets from Houston to Finland have asked him to give them a call.
“I think I'm sitting on a little powder keg that's getting ready to go crazy,” said Conrady, who owns Edmond Security Inc.
The website emerged in 2010 as a free electronic “Wanted” poster — when a crime happens, a home or business owner can post a video and Crimeseen automatically emails a link to all users within a certain radius of the crime.
Anyone who recognizes the criminal can contribute information, often giving strapped-for-time police departments the clues they need to make an arrest, Conrady said.
A pool of users
Conrady said that initially large security companies in Las Vegas and San Diego showed interest in sponsoring Crimeseen in their areas. But then they pulled back, saying they would wait for the website to build a pool of users.
Conrady was undeterred.
“I'm going to prove what this can do for Edmond Security,” he said.
Since then, with no advertising except through word-of-mouth, his business has grown by 56 percent, he said.
Neighbors use the website to help each other catch criminals, Conrady said. Crimeseen made one man aware that neighborhood thieves were cutting copper out of air conditioning units. Later, when the man heard a hissing sound coming from a lone parked car, he identified it as the sound of coolant escaping an air conditioner and called the police.
Both people in the car were arrested for attempted grand larceny, according to an Oklahoma City Police Department report posted to the website.
Businesses also can share crime reports with each other. For example, local cellphone retailers have a Crimeseen group, Conrady said.
He spoke recently during a webinar put on by Acadian Monitoring Services in Lafayette, La. The webinar yielded potential sponsors in seven markets, including Houston and Dallas, he said.
Convinced to invest
Thomas Schwab, a residential and commercial security dealer in Baton Rouge, La., said Conrady's webinar pitch convinced him to invest in Crimeseen.
Schwab said he thinks the website could help neighborhoods where police departments are strapped for resources.
“What really struck me was the ability for community-based self-policing,” Schwab said.
He said he is particularly interested in “One for the Road,” a Crimeseen feature that allows users to contact owners of local surveillance cameras that are pointed at streets. If crime victims know the approximate time a crime happened, they can review footage of nearby roads to spot the suspect's car.
Schwab plans to present Crimeseen to homeowners' associations in Baton Rouge to teach them how to use the website.
Last week, Conrady finished creating a localized banner for his website. Security companies that sponsor Crimeseen can place an ad in the banner that will show up whenever someone in their area uses the website.
Advertising space on the left side of the screen can be subleased to locksmiths, insurance companies or attorneys, Conrady said.
“So in a very short time, (security companies) could have zero cost for owning Crimeseen,” he said.
Conrady is offering the sponsorship for $1,000. He said his farthest possible sponsor is a man in Finland who is concerned about violent flash mobs in his area.
A 20-city promotional program for Crimeseen is in Conrady's plans, but his company keeps him busy.
On top of that, he's working on a patented idea for a new security system. The system would call a security camera owner when an intruder was on his or her property, allowing the person to talk to the intruder remotely via an intercom.
Conrady said that when he has time, he will take big steps to bring security into the age of smartphones and social networking.
“We're about to start carving up the country selling Crimeseen,” he said.