New SA crime-tracking website uses GPS-technology

 

Farmitracker Publicity Roodepoort July 31 2010 Pieter Oosthuizen interviewJuly 31 2010 – ROODEPOORT. Johan Meyer reports in the Roodeport Record, (a Caxton publication which does not publish news online, left, ), that a free new website using GPS-technology to track the latest crimes is ‘making waves on the West Rand and countrywide’. Farmitracker.com, was launched from May 1 2010 by a group of citizens as a platform for any community to report their own latest crimes on. This is badly needed: the SAPS only publishes crime-stats once a year – and the latest ones date from before March 2009.

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Farmitracker Crime Maps Whites on Farms_May12010_July232010“We have been fighting a losing battle with our government regarding the release of crime statistics,’ said co-creator, Constantia Kloof resident Pieter Oosthuizen. “The police are not allowed to release (the latest) crime stastistics, so no-one at any one time knows the real situation that we, as citizens, have to face on a day-to-day basis. The idea is to give people a more accurate picture of what’s going on in their neighbourhoods, and even the country.’

GPS-technology

“The website incorporates Global Positioning System technology and so it shows you a map of your area and the crimes reported in your area,’ he said. The fact that the latest crime-statistics are not readily available means that the viewpoint of the community can be easily manipulated into believing that ‘everything is fine’,  when really it is not, he pointed out.“If you cut off someone’s sources of information you can literally choose what information you want to release. People form views on the information that’s available to them and I’m afraid that with (the latest SAPS-) crime statistics being unavailable to the public, they are forming the wrong picture of their surroundings’.

The latest available crime-statistics from the SA Police Service date from before March 2009.

Oosthuizen says that the (free) website is still undergoing some changes and that soon, residents will be able to list municipal problems like street lights and leaking drains that have not been attended to, in addition to crime.“It is of vital importance to share information. If you walk past a river and there is a huge crocodile on the riverbank – you have to warn your friends and family to take a different path.  This is the same concept…’ For more information on http://www.farmitracker.com visit the website or email Pieter at farmitracker@gmail.com

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Democratic Alliance – bid to put Cape Town’s latest crime stats online

July 26 2010 CAPE TOWN —  Andisiwe Makinana also reports in the Cape Argus that there are plans afoot to do the very same thing for the city of Cape Town.

Smith JeanPierre Cape Town DA-city councillor Atlantic Seaboard Ward chairman CRIME WEBSITE PLANS Democratic-Alliance councillor Jeanne-Pierre Smith was quoted as saying that they wanted to start a municipal website so that Capetonians could have access to detailed local crime statistics reflecting crime patterns right down to street level. He quoted an unnamed City of Cape Town councillor  as saying that ‘the city was  working on an elaborate network which will allow the public to view these (latest) statistics online.”

  • (JP Smith’s contact information: Ward Councillor: Ward 54 (Atlantic Seaboard), Member of Mayoral Committee: Safety & Security, Tel: (+27) 21 400 1310 Fax: (+27) 21 400 1312, Cell: (+27) 83 6753 780 E-mail: jean-pierre.smith@capetown.gov.za   –   Website: http://www.jpsmith.co.za)

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At the same time, the DA will be seeking advice about the legality of the government’s decision not to regularly release South Africa’s crime statistics. Crime was high on the DA’s agenda at the weekend as it met for its fourth federal congress, held on at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

They want localised, monthly crime-statistics…

The party proposed that crime statistics must be released on a monthly basis —  and that they should be localised by wards and made freely available to the public and to community structures at once.

  • Currently, crime statistics are released once a year by the national Department of Police (formerly safety and security) and are broken down into provinces, cities and police stations. During the previous safety and security minister Charles Nqakula’s term, crime statistics were sometimes released twice a year.

However, his successor, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, has gone back to releasing the statistics once a year. The most recent SAPS stats date from before March 2009 and the DA says this also means that the statistics always run between six months to 18 months out of date…

In a resolution the party calls for the regular release of crime statistics – as this was ‘vital in the fight against crime because up-to-date and available crime stats helped communities and police determine crime trends in specific areas and relating to specific crimes.”

Delegates who were part of a group that was discussing security and justice matters at the federal congress also questioned why the party had not taken legal steps on the matter before. Emotions ran high as delegates debated the resolution on the release of crime statistics, and they threatened to launch a class action law suit against the government over the irregular release of the statistics and the lack of detail when they were made public.

  • During the discussion, Cape Town mayoral committee member J P Smith called for the metro police in each of South Africa’s metros to also release their own statistics. The metropolitan-police is generally responsible only for traffic-related crimes. Smith said the City of Cape Town was "ready to roll on this (plan) in a few months".

Questioned later by the Cape Argus, Smith said the metro police already released crime statistics monthly to community policing forums —  and on request to anybody.

He said the city was working on an advanced network which would give detail "down to street level" and added that people looking to buy homes would now be able to make informed decisions.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus on July 26, 2010
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?fsetid=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20100726122148512C495703

 

Farmitracker Publicity Roodepoort July 31 2010 Pieter Oosthuizen interview

 Farmitracker_Com_Update_July202010_Attacks against Whites Urban Areas only

 

FarmiTrackerReportsUpdatedJuly12010

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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