David von Diemar
Arson. Blackmail. Cybercrime. Domestic Violence. Espionage. Fraud. Genocide. Hijacking. Identity Theft. Jaywalking. Kidnapping. Looting. Murder. Needle Spiking. Obstruction of Justice. Poaching. Rape. Shoplifting. Terrorism. Usury. Vandalism. War crimes.
Encompassing almost the entire alphabet, above are a few illegal activities constituting a crime that is ultimately punishable by law, whether harming others, destroying property or common goods belonging to society.
Consider the following scenarios:
You have been a victim of a physical crime - robbed or kidnapped even. The perpetrators may have physically harmed you. The ordeal ends, and you go back to your life. However, it doesn’t end there. There are a broad range of psychological and social injuries that persist long after physical wounds have healed. You go through the motions of anxiety, anger, fear, isolation, low self-esteem, helplessness, and depression. The emotional damage and social isolation caused by victimisation may also be compounded by a lack of support and even stigmatisation from friends, family, and social institutions that can become a "second wound" for the victim.
Perhaps you’re not the victim of a physical crime, but these crimes of robbery and kidnapping are on the rise in your neighbourhood. And just as in scenario one, if there isn’t a collective effort to combat crime through expensive activities such as policing, the ripple impact on the community quickly begins to unravel. You and your neighbours become afraid to be inside or outside your homes, property prices are affected, investors may shy away from the area, existing businesses may close due to repeated theft and loss of income due to loss of customers, and so on.
Cue in Argentina. According to 2021 statistics from World Report Review, a global comparison indicates that out of 137 countries’ crime rates, it comes in at 18th with a crime index of 63.82. Venezuela has the highest crime rate index of 83.76, while Qatar has the lowest index at 12.13. According to the Buenos Aires Ministry of Security, looking at Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city in Argentina, crime is reportedly rising, with 511 cases reported daily. Specifically, every three minutes, a crime is committed. In any other sector, these would merely be statistics. However, these are more than numbers when it comes to crime, as crime is a significantly consequential element of any society, affecting everyone directly or indirectly.
With such statistics in Argentina, the natural reaction for the average citizen would be to feel afraid, helpless, powerless and voiceless. Alternatively (and understandably), they may want to blame the authorities for inaction or remain silent.
MapaDelitos, our featured deployers today, chose a different path. These bold volunteers have banded together to provide citizen-driven visibility into crime in their neighbourhoods.
What exactly are they about?
How are MapaDelitos using the Ushahidi platform?
The Ushahidi platform is being used to encourage citizen-driven reporting of crime related to missing persons, femicides, gender-based violence, kidnappings, etc., in the context of pervasive apathy within the citizenry due to perceived corruption within the institutions charged with ensuring their security.
Other activities in conjunction with mobilization through the platform?
Using data gathered from the Ushahidi platform, MapaDelitos can demonstrate the breadth of crime in Buenos Aires. They are using this evidence to create an official crime map. The end goal here is a comprehensive classification of crime by category and jurisdiction, then using these actual crime statistics to advance their petition to the government for more effective and organized security for its citizens, thereby enhancing their trust in the system.
What are their outcomes so far?
With the help of the Ushahidi platform evidence, they have engaged up to 20 organisations (different neighbourhood associations, NGOs and other relevant actors) tackling crime, citizen safety and corruption. This engagement aims to provide awareness about the platform as this gives the organisations the possibility of interpellation power to public officials to seek resolution of cases.
With your support, MapaDelitos’ primary goal is to increase awareness of their deployment and the petition. With increased awareness comes enhanced input from citizens into the deployment, leading to more effective engagement with relevant supporting organizations. This support results in increased momentum as they lobby decisive action for better security from relevant authorities.
Crime affects us all, whether directly or indirectly, with a range of consequences from relatively minor ones, to the ultimate cost - loss of life. While we can, and today being #GivingTuesday, let’s take a moment to appreciate the work MapaDelitos volunteers are doing and Donate Now to further their cause.
*The flexible donation options allow you to choose among donating every time 1,000 reports are published on our platform, monthly or one-time.