HomeNewsBriefMexico City Launches Crime-Fighting Smartphone App
BRIEF

Mexico City Launches Crime-Fighting Smartphone App

MEXICO / 13 MAR 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Mexico City’s government has launched a cell phone application allowing users to rapidly locate the nearest police in an emergency, raising the question of whether harnessing such technology will indeed lead to improved security. 

Using GPS technology, the free application “Mi Policia” (My Police) can pinpoint the exact location of smartphone users in the Mexican capital and allow them to communicate directly with local police chiefs. According to Jesus Rodriguez Almeida, the head of Mexico City’s Public Security Ministry, this will enable police to respond to emergency calls within minutes. The application will function 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in all 847 city quadrants, reported El Universal.

Rodriguez Almeida said the “useful, simple and modern” application fulfilled a government promise to better connect city residents with the police force via technology within the first 100 days of the new administration.

Right now the application can only be used by cellphone users with data plans but police say it will eventually be available to all smartphone owners, and to automatically redirect callers to the emergency line 066 if the quadrant’s police chief is unavailable.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico City is not alone in attempting to use technology to solve its crime problems. Colombia introduced a similar phone application in 2011, called “Cuadrantes” (Quadrants), which locates the user and provides them with a police phone number for the corresponding section of the city. The program, initially intended for eight cities, was meant to allow people in unfamiliar areas to locate the nearest police.

While social media tools like Facebook and Twitter appear to be the favored way to quickly share information about local crime dynamics in Mexico, some are beginning to look at how smartphones can be used to track security issues. During a two-day conference in July 2012, Google employees spoke to activists and government officials about using technology to combat criminal networks, highlighting the value of cell phones. 

However, techonology can only be effective if people use it. The “Mi Policia” app is presumably meant to encourage crime reporting, but in a country with low police confidence, extremely low crime resolution rates, and slow police reform, the likelihood that citizens will have faith in the app is diminished. It is also clear that such apps will only benefit a small percentage of the population in Mexico, failing to address violence in poorer, rural areas.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

EL CHAPO / 31 JAN 2014

Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman's life and times are to be brought to television screens across the United States later…

MEXICO / 17 OCT 2012

With reports of the death of Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano, alias “Z-3,” there are already plenty of conspiracy…

MEXICO / 14 OCT 2014

A new leader of Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel has reportedly emerged following the February arrest of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, lending…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…