APP USAGE MAY
IREAD with a lot of hope and optimism the announcement that the police are encouraging the participation of the public via smartphones to reduce the crime rate through their Volunteer Smartphone Patrol (VSP) application.
This is an excellent initiative and long overdue.
We have seen how effective mobile devices are in addressing crime in the world.
The evidence that is delivered via these devices provides the police with credible information, which makes the job of investigating a crime more efficient and quicker to solve.
Malaysia has the highest smartphone usage percentage and thus the public can monitor criminal and negative social activities and ensure the safety of communities.
However, coming from the telecommunications industry, I have concerns about it, based on the police statement that they are targeting 4.8 million smartphone users initially.
There are thresholds for an application or product to function efficiently.
Once this is obtained, the system will slow down or shut down.
I hope that this new application can accommodate the projected as well as unexpected surge in usage by the public.
The other concern I have is whether the police have the manpower to manage this application.
Does the force have the capability to do so?
We can also assume that most of these reports are going to be received from urban areas with a higher number of crimes and higher number of smartphone users, thus a higher concentration of reports to manage.
Are the police prepared?
They also have to deal with false reports. Imagine the waste of resources running after false reports.
Maybe this initiative could be implemented in stages. For example, we could start with taxi drivers, who are almost everywhere.
We could install dashboard cameras in taxis to help police monitor traffic offenders.
An incentive should be given to encourage them to participate.
For example, if they provide visual evidence of motorists breaking traffic rules, a portion of the summonses’ receipts can be given to taxi drivers.
Uber and GrabCar drivers can also be roped in. After all, they are all registered and their particulars are available, if needed.
Rela is another registered body that can participate in this initiative.
So, too, other registered bodies that have a similar goal as the police in reducing crime and being their eyes and ears.
THOMAS SAMUEL Selayang, Selangor
The Volunteer Smartphone Patrol app can help police tackle crime more efficiently.