El Salvador: New System to Enhance Collection and Sharing of Vital Crime Information

Juliana Rotich
May 25, 2010

The Ushahidi team is always excited to hear news of initiatives that build upon the Ushahidi platform, be it implementations on the web, or those that use the different clients developed for mobile phones. The first complete phone client for Ushahid was Windows Mobile, which was spearheaded by Dale Zak, with extensive assistance from Pablo Destefanis and the rest of the Ushahidi developer community. It is with excitement that we share the news from RTI International and its partners on a crime mapping initiative in El Salvador. seguridad_5.jpg image courtesy of RTI

SANTA TECLA, El Salvador — May 12, 2010 — The Santa Tecla Municipality, the U.S. Government through its Agency for International Development (USAID), RTI International (RTI), the National Civilian Police (PNC) and Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, today launched a solution that will use 3G wireless technology to create and test a crime reporting and mapping system. The solution aims to facilitate crime reduction by improving the real-time collection and sharing of criminal information. The Seguridad Inalámbrica (Wireless Security) system will make vital crime data more accessible to law enforcement officials and the municipal government. This capability enables real-time monitoring and analysis of crime patterns for the purpose of improving the implementation of more effective crime prevention measures. Seguridad Inalámbrica demonstrates how the applications enabled by advanced wireless technologies turn the mobile phone into a multifaceted communications tool that can be used for data transmission as well as traditional voice and sms. “3G technologies provide advanced wireless broadband access to the Internet and have enormous potential for enhancing the capabilities of people who protect and serve our communities,” said Flavio Mansi, senior vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm Latin America. “In the United States, Qualcomm has a long history of working with federal, state and local government organizations to provide technology solutions that help promote public safety. We are pleased to have an opportunity to use our expertise to help the Municipality of Santa Tecla reduce crime.” Law enforcement agents participating in the project have been issued 3G mobile phones running an easy to use, crime reporting software application. The devices and application are used to report crime from as close as possible to the location where it occurred and information about the nature and location of the crime is transmitted from the handset to a crime mapping database. Crime reports can then be mapped from the crime database using open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. The system then displays incidents on detailed maps, facilitates the identification of high-risk locations and helps track changes in crime patterns over time as law enforcement agencies’ crime and violence prevention programs are introduced. “This capability will allow us to design and implement timely and effective prevention measures to continue transforming Santa Tecla into a more safe and peaceful community to live in,” said Oscar Ortiz, mayor of Santa Tecla. “We Salvadorans tend to see mobile phones only as devices for the purpose of voice communication,” said Carlos Antonio Ascencio Giron, general director of Policía Nacional Civil (PNC). “The ability to use mobile phones to report crimes when and where they happen has been eye opening. This system will not only allow us to better track criminal incidents, it will free up time and resources which can be directed to furthering law enforcement and crime prevention.” Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Wireless Reach initiative, has provided funding to RTI International (RTI) to roll out this system. Funding supports project strategy, system design and development, training, implementation and management oversight. Seguridad Inalámbrica aspires to create a sustainable crime mapping foundation that can be tested and proven in Santa Tecla and eventually implemented in other municipalities and other countries in the region. “We are delighted to be working with Qualcomm on the Seguridad Inalámbrica project,” said Pablo Destefanis, technical expert for RTI International. “Their support of innovation in this area allows us to develop and implement a system that can serve as an example for El Salvador and beyond.”

More info here.