Cops go hi-tech in fight against crime in Diepsloot
Police in Diepsloot south of Johannesburg have taken the lead when it comes to using technology to fight crime.
On Wednesday they announced that together with Memeza and Namola‚ they have been piloting a combined technological effort that sees local residents getting police assistance that is faster‚ more accurate and more accountable than has ever been possible.
Over the last few months Memeza has donated thousands of alarm systems to households in Diepsloot that‚ when triggered by a motion detector or a handheld panic button‚ send an SMS to the local SAPS station and Sector Police vans. The nearest Sector vans are then able to go straight to the scene‚ while the home owner is called.
“The Memeza initiative has been very successful to date. It has seen a meaningful drop in crime and an improvement in the relationship between the residents of Diepsloot and the police‚” said Brigadier Moichela‚ the Diepsloot Station Commander. He added that he was very excited about the extension of this pilot with project Namola.
Namola is the world’s first operational “uber for police” service which is currently being used in the City of Tshwane where residents citizens are able to use the free Android and IOS application to share their GPS coordinates with their nearest Tshwane Metro Police Department vehicles. The first available officer accepts and is directed to the user’s location using a tablet mounted within their vehicle. A control room monitors the location of all alerts‚ vehicle locations and direct communication between the officer and the user. Namola can improve vehicle dispatch times from a fast dispatch time of 2 minutes to under 15 seconds.
For the SAPS Diepsloot pilot‚ Namola devices will be installed in SAPS vehicles. When a Memeza alarm is triggered‚ the closest vehicles and the live monitoring maps at the station will be notified. The vehicle will be dispatched while the station calls the homeowner to verify the alarm. If it is a false alarm the alert will be cancelled and the responding officer notified. If it is a genuine alert the responding officer will be sent information on what to expect. Additional vehicles will be dispatched if necessary.
Namola improves communication and accountability through integrating alerts and responses onto real-time tracking maps. All could-be-victims are called by the station to get information on what the officer should expect when he or she arrives on the scene.
“This pilot makes Namola more accessible to communities where smartphone penetration is low but feature phones are everywhere‚” said Katekani Baloyi from Namola. “Our aim is to help all citizens get police assistance when they need it‚ faster.”