Inventive Africa tries its best to focus on the positive sides of Africa. Promoting incredible innovation and letting the world know of the great potential of human capital on the continent. We try our best to keep away from the negative stereotypes that fogs the opinions of many who have never visited the continent, and some that have! That aside, crime and fraud are still a problem on the continent, but the good thing is, there is technology out there that is trying to fight it and we want to feature two of such technologies today.
Namola is an app used by Tshwane Metro Police Department, in South Africa, to make the process of getting in contact with the closest police officers more efficient. In much of the continent, calling the police to deal with certain circumstances can be a lengthy process. The infrastructure is often not up to a standard that enables the police to react quickly to reported crimes. Namola enables citizens to send an alert directly to the nearest police officer. Then, the nearest available office is able to respond, using the built in GP capability. Some examples of cases it has been used for so far are, reporting break ins, hi-jackings and township crime, as well as police swiftly calling for backup from other officers.
The control system is built directly into the police vehicle, enabling officers to receive alerts, messages and directions directly, saving them time. The app also enables a control room to oversee the location of all the officers and offering another level of communication.
This system has great potential for many areas of the continent. Firstly, addresses are not always easy to find, so a GPS locator makes it far quicker to respond to a crime. It also enables a strategic overview of the police in a location. This means, in the case of a big emergency, it is possible to direct officers around, which is also possible outside of Africa. This system gives citizens the security of knowing they are able to contact the emergency services when they are in need. It has great scope for being rolled out across the continent and has even potential outside of the continent.
The second innovation we are featuring is Fraudcheck. Fraudcheck is a Nigerian website that enables the public to rate companies on their products. The idea came from Ahuwanya Victor who was twice given a fake solar panel by a shop in Nigeria. After being offered a refund, it took police involvement and a of time to finally receive him money back. He then went about building a website to allow people to check whether they are buying from reputable sellers.
People are able to upload photos and details about the person or organisation that defrauded them and then rate the company with a +1 or -1. Each user is only allowed to rate the company once. The higher the score, the more likely it is to trust the company. The idea is innovative and jumps on to the recent crowed sourcing trend, which is using the public to gain huge amounts of insightful data. We can envisage a problem with people sigining up with multiple accounts to either credit or discredit a business. We hope there are processes involves to counter this potential problem.
At the moment, the website is not the easiest to use, but the key point is it is a great innovation. It is a lesson to us all. When we have an idea, we should go ahead and develop it and get it out for use. After that, it can be tweaked depending on the comments of the users. We expect this is exactly what Fraudcheck are doing.
Crime and fraud are big business from both sides of the battle. With the increased capabilities of technology, we expect more and more innovations to be developed to fight illegal behaviour in Africa. Cyber crime is continuing to be a big problem and spoilt the reputation of many countries in Africa. Corruption and fraud are evident at all levels. Technology must be utilised to reduce crimes of all sorts.
If you know of any other crime technologies then please let us know. If you would like to be a guest blogger, or have a comment please get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or email, and please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.