(Trinidad Guardian) Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams says a mobile app launched yesterday was a “dream come true” for the police service.
The app, which has been described as a neighbourhood watch on steroids, allows the user to directly report crimes to police, as well as have a direct access to all other national agencies, from utilities to response units such as the Office of Disaster and Preparedness and Management.
The free to download app is not unique to this country, but has been modified to fit the needs of T&T. The app, called CSafe, was launched by Community Defence, a neighbourhood watch group, in collaboration with the police service and other community activist groups, including the Powerful Ladies of T&T (PLOTT).
Speaking during the launch at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, Williams said the app is endorsed and supported by the police service, which will assist them to pursue their vision to make the country safe. He said the country can only attain the level of security it wants when the citizens partner with the police, adding the app allows citizens to do so.
The app will allow the user to report crimes anonymously and when all the kinks are ironed out, all reports will go directly to the police service, who will receive the information as a report and dispatch officers to the scene of the report. There will also be alerts of crimes, updates on reports, updates on missing people and wanted people readily available.
The T&T Guardian interfaced with the app and saw latest reports on missing people and wanted criminals. The updates on crimes will take some time, however, as one of the goals is to ensure the information is properly vetted in an attempt not to bombard users with unsubstantiated reports.
In response to questions from the media, Darrin Carmichael, a director of Crime Stoppers and the man responsible from bringing the app to the country, said the app was not meant to replace a police report. But Williams later said the report sent via the application could be used as an official report.
Carmichael said the app will also provide alerts on serious incidents, so with the Carnival season approaching visitors could download the app and receive in real time information pertaining to safe areas. The basis of the app, he said, is to get the country together to push back against the criminals by directly sharing information about criminal activity which can be shared with others, thereby making each cellphone owner the possible ears and eyes of the police service simply by the shifting of a thumb.
PLOTT co-founder Gillian Wall, in her address, asked how long the country would allow crime to continue. The answer, she said, now lay in citizens’ palms and she encouraged each smartphone holder to download the app and help the police make their communities safer. To download the app on any platform, visit the app store on your mobile device, available for IOS, Android and Windows phones, and search Community Defence and follow the instructions.