The very nature of social media’s open communication and crowdsourced information provides a powerful tool for public safety says co-founder of ttrumpet, GRANT THEIS.
“The growth of social media continues to grow exponentially – and the sharing of information amongst individuals has the real potential to improve vigilance and ultimately lead to safer communities.”
Recent community horror stories have sparked the debate around public safety through citizen engagement, and the role technology is playing here has come to the fore.
“With so many citizens witnessing and experiencing almost daily incidents in their city – imagine the sheer volume and content that can be generated,” adds Theis. “One of the best ways to garner this information is through crowdsourcing – which involves engaging and enabling citizens to actively take a part in the fight against crime and by reporting suspicious activities or crime or vandalism by reporting information in real-time and in a convenient and accessible way using their smartphones.”
Theis cautions that these platforms shouldn’t be mistaken for a security app – but rather they are about connecting individuals in real-time with their communities and syndicating information that enables individuals and communities to empower themselves when it comes to keeping themselves and their families safe.
“Having said that however, follow-me-home features and community channels are just a few aspects that can be incorporated here,” says Theis. “Think of the possibilities of correlating these citizen activities and reports with data from other systems, such as video surveillance, traffic monitoring or even security companies. Having such an integrated system, with the community at the centre, allows officials to gain a better understanding of what is happening at any moment, where their serves are required as well as trends that may emerge over time and work hand-in-hand with the community to eliminate crime.”
Over the last 6 months ttrumpet has been focused on creating a security eco-system with tailored features including:
· Tag-Me: a my-safety, real time feature within the app aimed at families, friends and active sportsmen. The feature enables individuals to “pin” or mark their journey while travelling, allowing personally selected people to identify their exact location and whether they have gone off route, as well as allowing the user to alert their “followers” in cases of distress
· Security Channel: a dedicated channel for communities to report and record security issues and other community related information. Ttrumpet’s security gives an intelligent view of all incidents as well as a map and of course, full user control of notifications. Ttrumpet offers this service for free to all resident’s associations, safety/community forums and similar groups.
· SOS Button: a free SOS service which contacts your loved ones and sends them your location when pressed.
Ttrumpet is being used actively across Pretoria and Johannesburg currently – with over 100 Community Police Forums and Neighbourhood Watches actively using the app for their security communities. Warrant Officer A.C. Holtzhausen Sector Manager, sector 1 Pretoria North SAPS, is currently using the ttrumpet app to connect with his sector community. He says: “Having used it for a few months, I have to say it’s become a must to combat crime in the community as not only does it bring the community together, but it is helping the police to combat crime in the area and encouraging fellow residents to identify hotspots, be more vigilant and be on the lookout to assist the police.”
“Active citizenry, coupled with a strong purpose-built platform that brings together relevant parties, has real potential to change the status quo. It truly is the rise of crowdsourced safety,” says Theis.