Apps | June 2, 2020 1:07 pm

Downloads of Police Scanner Apps Are Skyrocketing

Something called '5-0 Radio' is currently more popular than TikTok and Instagram

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

Faced with civil unrest, we’re downloading police scanner apps in record numbers, as reported by Axios.

Since the end of May, apps like Scanner Radio Police Scanner — which allows people to listen in live to fire and police scanners (among others) — have jumped 125 percent in downloads, according to research by Apptopia.

One app in particular, 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, has jumped ahead of Facebook, Instagram and Tik-Tok on the Apple App Store. “This weekend was the largest spike overall in 5-0 Radio listeners in the 10+ year history of this app. And there’s no indication that the spike is ending anytime soon. For the past four days, the numbers of users have almost doubled the previous day,” said Allen Wong, the app’s developer, to Motherboard in an email. “I’ve seen spikes in popularity during other protests, but this is the largest spike since the Boston Marathon bombing and the subsequent manhunt.”

5-0 Police Scanner

Other apps that have seen increased interest, according to TechCrunch, include the encrypted messaging app Signal and the community safety app Citizen, with both apps breaking their own records for single-day downloads.

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