Northville teen develops crime-fighting cell phone app to empower citizens

Jacob Drolshagen, Creator of Sentry
Jacob Drolshagen, Creator of Sentry

Northville High School senior Jacob Drolshagen has created the prototype for a cell phone app that would empower residents to crack down on crime when police can’t.

Now the 18-year-old is looking for investors to make Sentry a reality.

Sentry was designed with the city of Detroit in mind, Drolshagen said.

“I love Detroit, especially its charm and amazing energy. It’s sad that other people aren’t able to experience that because of the stigma that Detroit isn’t safe. I believe in Sentry to aid in facilitating emergency response times, bringing more traffic to Detroit and giving that Detroit charm to everyone.”

Not just a panic button, Sentry collects and stores your neighborhood’s report history. This allows subscribers to analyze incident patterns in their community and work to coordinate prevention and response efforts.

Retired Detroit Police Sergeant David L. Malhalab believes the app could revolutionize neighborhood watch programs by breaking down barriers between neighbors, thereby increasing cooperation and safety.

“Neighborhood watches and neighbors need to unite. Police officers don’t know it all and need their help. This could strengthen police-community relations, which is a must in crime prevention and protection.”

Sentry is a database and reporting tool all in one, enabling neighborhoods, schools and businesses to create networks of users. These users would then be able to alert their neighbors or contact the authorities in the event of a community incident.

Incidents include medical services, emergency services, suspicious activity, and robbery/vehicle theft. Users may provide a photo along with a brief description and map the incident with Sentry’s automatic location finder.

The app is currently in the running for a $5,000 investment from, a $15 million incubator that awards $10,000 weekly in start-up investments. Start Garden investors rely on endorsements to decide which projects to fund each week. To endorse Sentry, click here, login through Facebook, create a bio and click “endorse”!

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Abigail Shah

Co-founder of Motor City Muckraker, Abigail Shah is a native Detroit and graduated with a BS in psychology from Wayne State University.