10 African Tech Solutions That Fight Crime And Deal With Emergencies
Technology is responsible for many of the solutions to modern problems faced by people in Africa, with numerous tech innovations used to fight crime and assist in emergencies.
From mobile panic buttons that prompt an emergency response throughout the continent, to early-warning fire detection systems in South Africa and anti-crime tech used to support the police in their duties in Nigeria, these tech solutions are helping the vulnerable in dire situations.
Mobile apps and online platforms are giving police and emergency services in Africa an extra weapon in their arsenal. A more digitally-connected society sees the potentially life-saving benefits of embracing technology.
Here are 10 African tech solutions that fight crime and deal with emergencies.
Known as the ‘Uber for Security’, Namola is a South African mobile app that is available for use across the country, with citizens able to alert police to criminal activity at the touch of a button, at which point the closest police vehicle to the scene responds. The Namola App recently launched a partnership with ride-hailing service Taxify, with an in-app safety button linked to the Namola service to improve passenger and driver safety, according to News24.
Flare is a Kenyan platform that has been developed for use by first responders, with both government and private emergency response teams able to use the app to conduct real-time tracking, coordination, resource management and reporting in order to assist them to save as many lives as possible, according to AppsAfrica.
South African company Lumkani have produced an early-warning fire detection system that was developed with informal settlements in mind. Small blue heat detectors are embedded in homes and networked so that text messages are sent to community leaders and fire departments so that a response can be sent.
Usalama is a Kenyan mobile app that sends out a distress signal when a user shakes their phone three times, indicating an emergency or crime in progress that requires urgent assistance. This signal alerts emergency services of the person’s location, with their chosen next of kin, and every Usalama user within 200m also receiving the alert, according to CNN. Usalama is the Swahili word for security.
This app is one that is installed and forgotten about, until it saves a life. Using smart drive-detection technology the South African app auto-detects serious car crashes and alerts the CrashDetech emergency contact centre of the phone’s location, allowing it to dispatch the nearest emergency medical services with the person’s specific medical information, potentially saving lives.
Hawk Eye Global Crime Reporting System
The Nigeria Police Force make use of the Hawk Eye Reporting System to fight crime in the country. Part of the system is an app that allows citizens to anonymously report crimes from their mobile phone using voice, video and images, while it also offers an enterprise system with patrol vehicle monitoring, dispatching, reports, business intelligence and analytics. This helps patrol vehicles, which are equipped with handheld mobile device terminals, to locate crime scene quickly while conducting facial recognition searches on suspects, according to AfricaBusinessCommunities.
NEWORDER is a leading South African information security provider that specialises in hacking and industrial espionage protection. The company recently partnered with the EC-Council, the world’s largest body in cyber security training and certifications, to provide training for IT professionals across Africa in the battle against cybercrime. NEWORDER has been recognised as an information security industry leader by TIME Magazine.
Systematic Poacher Detector
Poaching wild animals is a crime, and technology is playing its part in putting a stop to that particular crime in Africa. Fix-winged drone aircraft called Systematic Poacher Detectors fly over Botswana with the aim of catching rhino and elephant poachers. The University of Southern California-developed drones use artificial intelligence to assist human operators in identifying poachers, according to USC. Drones are also used for crime-fighting purposes in South Africa, particularly in raids of buildings and other areas.
In 2016 UK-based telecoms giant Vodafone Group, through its foundation, launched a toll-free emergency line and Ambulance Taxi that saves thousands of lives in rural Tanzania every year. Mobile technology is used in this instance to connect pregnant mothers who are in need of transport to the Ambulance Taxi service, which transports the mothers to hospitals, saving many babies and their mothers who would otherwise not have access to such facilities in rural areas.
Thanks to a panic button functionality built into a mobile app that sends GPS coordinates through to a dedicated medical call centre In the event of a medical emergency, South Africa’s Helivac Helicopter Service will be able to respond and urgently transport injured people to the most suitable medical facility, according to ITNewsAfrica.