By Solomon M. Ekolama
Community policing focuses on solving the crimes that the community is concerned about and addressing concerns by working with and gaining support from the local community.
Once this component of intelligence gathering is put in the right perspective, the technology for intelligence gathering through the community locals can now be synchronized with other digital technologies such as device tracking, security cameras and other key tools in crime fighting.
As the public and private systems see further integration, working in synergy with security operatives, the citizens can now avail the security agencies the opportunity of providing adequate intelligence not only to examine crime scenes after the act, but also to monitor streets, businesses, and public transit systems for potential dangers. In addition to preventing criminal activity, public places can be monitored for threats and other public-safety concerns.
When potential threats are identified, the appropriate authorities can be notified via the technology in real time to evaluate the situation and act in a more proactive manner.
With over 216 million connected telephone lines in Nigeria, and 97.21 million Mobile Internet users, Nigeria is now ripe for citizen participation in crime prevention and control through intelligence gathering.
Effective intelligence gathering of this nature must act through a web-agent, which plays a dual role. On one side, the populace sees it as a friendly app to report crime directly to superior authority without entangling themselves with junior security operatives. On the other hand, it serves as a tool for security operatives in tracking and monitoring behind-the-scene activities that may lead to crimes. With this, a databank of security intelligence could be built and armed with the analysis of these data; security operatives in Nigeria could gain greater understanding of the types of crimes prevalent in specific areas, during specific times and seasons across the country.
In this circumstance, the web-agent must provide an electronic platform for members of the public to report emergencies and all forms of crimes, security breaches, and other activities that threaten the safety, security, and economic well-being of individuals, communities, and the government alike. Such reports must be filtered based on the degree of emergency and the extent to which it is either safety or security-related, and is instantly transmitted via Short Message Service (SMS) to the relevant security command headquarters and safety agencies in real time. Consequently, security operatives can act instantly to mitigate any perceived action.
The transmission of this report must be handled by a secured “web to sms” mechanism in the web-agent so as to meet real-time intelligence delivery demand. In addition, the web-agent must possess an inbuilt Artificial Intelligence module torecognizepatterns and channel messages to the most appropriate quarter. The entire platform must be fortified to withstand and defend itself against all forms of malware and hackers.
It is worthy of note that as government develops crime-reducing capabilities, it is important to keep in mind the value of community relationships. The tool offered by web-agent as a solution can help security operatives or law enforcement agencies focus on community-oriented strategies in crime fighting that strengthen their relationship with the public while also reducing crime in Nigeria.
In conclusion, criminal activities in Nigeria have deepened, with a more worrisome fact of a perceived apathy on the side of the populace to furnish security agencies with intelligence that may mitigate such acts. In the face of this impasse, I wish to recommend a more subtle approach – a tool such as a web-agent that provides a user-friendly interface, which is more acceptable to the populace than an outright confrontation of device tracking.
In other words, while the web-agent plays a front role in intelligence gathering, it subtly plays behind-the-scene role in device tracking, which is more acceptable and holistic in crime-fighting and security concerns management.
In addition, the web-agent could be linked via an API to our own NigComSat for satellite surveillance, and stream its images in-real-time in to security headquarters for intelligence monitoring. Such a system may be extended to work with ambulance and emergency response, police, military, medical and cover sports events.
Once we get this bit right, we can then doff our hats as a nation and say that we are now in a position to combat crime in the right way and in the right direction through effective citizen participation in crime prevention and control.
Ekolama writes from Lagos