Neighborhood watch gets sophisticated

Local company pioneers fight crime application. Infrastructure Solutions, a registered technology company in Botswana, has pioneered Botswana’s first neighborhood watch application.

The app, which is currently available on the Android Playstore and the Apple store, is currently in the test phase of production and so can only be downloaded – free of charge, in the demo version.

The notion behind the application is straightforward and not a novel concept overseas but however, represents the first of its kind within our borders.

It is a point-to-point app, which enables a user to send a distress message to a predefined list of contacts at the push of a button.

Once the distress signal has been sent, the person’s location is triangulated enabling the would-be victim’s contacts to pinpoint their exact location.

So for example, if one was to realise that their house was being broken into in the infant hours of the morning, one could activate the app, which would send a distress signal to one’s neighbors alerting them of an ongoing crime and the need for assistance.

When discussing the motivation for the app, pioneer of Infrastructure Solutions – Duncan Moipolai emphasised the antiquated manner in which neighborhood watches were conducted.

“Batswana have been using a system where a neighborhood uses whistles to alert the community that a crime is taking place. However, this system not only warns the perpetrators, they have now also come up with ways in which to counter them. Criminal gangs now carry whistles in order to divert attention from their partners who are committing a crime elsewhere.”

When probed on whether the app could be misused as a tool for vigilantism for Batswana who have proved on many an occasion to have a penchant for mob justice, Moipolai emphasised the need to remember that the app was a tool for apprehension and once that has been achieved, the Police must be summoned to administer the full course of the law.

The full version of the application will be launched in approximately a fortnight, which will see the incorporation of added features.

These features include but are not limited to; voice note capability, medical emergency capability, remote access functionality and device tracking.

Perhaps the remote access functionality is the best of the lot, allowing for the victim to remotely activate the distress button even if their phone is stolen in the process of a crime.

It should however, be noted that once the device is switched off, it renders this feature useless.

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