Nakuru Pioneers an ICT based Crime Prevention Initiative
Pic/Police take positions at a crime scene. The initiative helps the police to deal with crime
By Benard Ogembo
An initiative to create a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing and sharing of crime data, which originated from Nakuru, has now gone national.
The community based crime monitoring and reporting system was first launched by security agencies in Nakuru to increase security responses. It has now going countrywide in a move aimed at curbing increased unreported crime.
The initiative, dubbed “Mulika Uhalifu”(Kiswahili for shine the light on crime), will enable members of the public to report crime through text messages.
The product developer and founder of Mulika initiative, Grace Wanjohi said the system aims at creating of a nationwide networking infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled sophisticated tracking system to help security agencies collaborate with the public in addressing the national security.
“In starting off with a few counties, we were testing the system capacity as we also got feedback from the field. Further, we wanted to find out the nature of the issues raised,” said the product initiator.
She says once the system takes a national outlook, it will prove to be the greatest service ever done to the country as millions of men and women for who are all responsible will be protected.
“Besides receiving issues from all the counties, we will, in addition, visit each county to train county security committees on the use of mulika system for them to carry out an effective public sensitization campaign through their teams.”
Nandi County Commissioner Mr Kangethe Thuku says so far, the system is working quite well and they have been creating public awareness that has registered a remarkable response.
“We’re getting interesting responses. Besides, the system has helped reduce crime rate. Information bureaucracy has also been contained and we can now get information instantly and work on it,” says Thuku.
He says members of the public are already using the system to highlight general crime, issues of cattle thefts, and illicit brews.
Nakuru County Commissioner Joshua Nkanatha says the system has created checks and balances with the security fraternity using it to check the misconduct of rogue officers and take action without favour whenever such cases are reported by the public.
While launching it in Nakuru on December last year, Nkanatha said the system will help the security team to co-ordinate operations in the county and respond to emergencies.
“The security agencies are on high alert to ensure safety of its people. That is why we have piloted this project today where the public can report crime from anywhere via text messages,” he said.
Ms Wanjohi said the project would make a significant jump in the ability of law enforcement agencies to check crime and nab criminals.
“It will create a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of community policing through adopting of principle of e-governance,” she said.
A text message sent through code 22068 will reach all the security personnel in all the 47 counties who will then be expected to act on it in a coordinated manner.
To send a text, you are required to begin with the county name then proceed to give the information. The text will cost one shillings.
Nakuru and Nandi, counties are the pioneer counties for the new system.
Although it has not been officially launched in all the counties, there has been tremendous response with the system receiving sms from other counties that are yet to embrace it such as Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kisumu, Nairobi, Uasin Gishu, and Kericho.
They mostly report on accidents, matatu overloading, poor service delivery and issues of illicit brews and theft.
Ms Wanjohi noted, “Most people have a lot of information regarding crime but they don’t know where to report them.With this system, it will be easier for them to do so.”
Members of the public have been assured that their numbers will be concealed when their text are forwarded for action. The online portal is also available for complete anonymity where one can key in information and omit their contact details.
Ms Wanjohi said it took her three years to develop the system with the help of security agencies.
“The authenticity of the information sent will be verified by the security agencies to ensure it’s correct,” she said.
The initiative is funded by the Business Integrity Africa (BIA) which came up with the idea.
Members will be able to text the security information either as victims or witnesses to crimes.
Once the message is received in the system, it will be forwarded immediately to five security bosses in the sender’s county namely the county commissioner, the police commander, the administration commandant, county CID director and National Intelligence.
“It will further be forwarded within five seconds, to the Deputy County Commissioner, the Officer commanding police station and all their teams per county,” explained Ms Wanjohi.
The follow up will be headed by the County Security Committee, chaired by the County Commissioner.
This is to enable accountability, transparency, and enhance teamwork among the multiple security agencies and ensure that issues raised by the community are attended to swiftly and efficiently.
“it will be transparent in such a way that a person can lodge complaint on line and get a status report of complaint online ,” she added.
Mulika initiative currently holds two products; Mulika Uhalifu and Mulika Pombe, targeting both crime and illicit brew.