Residents of Johannesburg, South Africa's largest city, are using phone apps and social networking sites to tip the police off to crimes in their neighborhoods. South Africa has a high crime rate, with 47 murders reported per day, according to 2013-2014 crime statistics released by the South African Ministry of Police.
"We are currently using WhatsApp groups to share information with the police crime intelligence unit," Abdurrahman Ricky, head of the Greater Mayfair Safety and Security (GMMS) group, which patrols Johannesburg's Mayfair suburbs, told Anadolu Agency (AA). Ricky said his nonprofit organization has been asking residents of Mayfair and surrounding districts to join their WhatsApp group and report crimes in the area.
"Many criminals have been apprehended since we started using WhatsApp and BBM [BlackBerry Messenger]. As a result, crime is falling tremendously in our neighborhoods," Ricky asserted.
He said the GMSS group began using the app one year ago and was now networking with police and other security groups.
"Some members of our group are police officers and security operatives. The group has been very efficient in our community," he said.
According to Ricky, crimes reported by community members include carjackings, burglaries and loitering. "Whenever we get a tip-off, we alert the police and rush to the scene," he said.