Google’s Israeli-made Waze app to flag kidnappings

Los Angeles mayor teams up with Google to offer live tracking of hit-and-runs and Amber Alerts

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the city's annual Fourth of July march, 2014. (Courtesy)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the city's annual Fourth of July march, 2014. (Courtesy)

LOS ANGELES — Alerts about hit-and-runs and kidnappings in Los Angeles will soon pop up on traffic app Waze, along with road closure information, the city’s mayor said Tuesday.

The agreement is part of a data-sharing partnership between LA and the Google-owned tech company announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Created in Israel in 2008 and sold to Google in 2013, Waze has already begun showing street closures and will start including hit-and-run alerts and so-called Amber Alerts sent out for kidnappings in the coming months.

“This is going to be updated in real-time, every two minutes, giving motorists the information they need to… get home for dinner in time,” said Garcetti.

The agreement to add notifications about hit-and-run and kidnapping alerts was reached Monday “in a very good meeting” between Waze and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck,” the mayor said.

In January, it emerged that Beck had sent a letter to the tech company’s CEO lamenting that the Waze application posed a danger to police because of its ability to track their locations.

The LAPD chief said at the time that the shooter in a recent double murder of two New York police officers used the application to track the location of cops.

Waze is a traffic and navigation application to which users contribute information in order to share real-time road information.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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