Crime. It happens everywhere in the world. We can’t escape it, and fighting it is extremely difficult. Africa has a crime stereotype that is struggling to shift, and that in many instances is putting off potential oversees investors and inhibiting the tourist industry. Of course, there are dangerous instances of crime that occur in the major African cities, but this happens in all the major cities all around the world. But, some places in Africa need to fight harder to clear the image that has been created for it.
Crime will continue to happen across the world, but how is it possible to create an environment to help people feel safer in Africa. A British company have developed an app to give some security to people who find themselves in a dangerous situation. The app is aimed not only at criminal circumstances, but also other emergencies such as natural disasters, car accidents or home fires.
The app, called Code9Help enables users to send a message via SMS or email to their chosen contacts immediately when in a time of need. The message contains the GPS location, so can not only alert contacts of an emergency, but exactly where it is taking place. This means the police can be called by a contact, without alerting anyone else at the scene. This app is not necessarily going to stop crime, but it gives that certainty to people that when they are in trouble they are able to call for help from their most trusted contacts.
It could also be possible for the police and security services to make use of such an app, either to alert other officers quickly and quietly of an ongoing situation, or to be alerted to ongoing criminal activity, or dangerous circumstances. In parts northern Nigeria, they have experienced problems in recent years from the insurgency Boko Haram. I wonder if a service like this would be able to more quickly alert security services to attacks, and their location, so that help can be sent quicker.
The Code9Help app has currently been rolled out in Ghana and Nigeria. It enables you to create special alerts and alarms for contacts, so that they know you are in need. There could be many uses for such an app. It could be used by vulnerable people, or women on dates or travelling alone, in case they end up in a compromising situation. Or even people who are on an adventure in the middle of nowhere. Apps like these are not only useful for potential dangers in Africa, but across the planet.
Enabling a feeling of safety is incredibly important for those living in Africa, and those who are thinking about coming to Africa either on a holiday or to invest and set up a business. When I discuss going to Ghana, or doing business in any other part of Africa in Europe, one of the first questions is, “yeah, but is it safe?”. If tech can help change this misguided view, then it should be utilised. In most instances I have heard of regarding dangerous situations in Ghana, they were usually out of naivety. Going to the wrong area, at the wrong time of the night and not paying attention to surroundings. If you do this in any major city in the world you put your self at risk.
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