India has now become synonymous with crime. Every day, a new crime is reported around the country and the police force, most of the times appear rather least bothered and do not pay heed to them unless they are highly tragic. Moreover, criminals are now moving around freely, harassing common people every now and then. Zerocrime is indeed a very commendable and positive effort in such times of crisis, making people more alert about the crimes that take place around them and help them report about the same.
What is zerocrime?
Zerocrime is an online crowd-sourcing application that allows citizens to report and view criminal activity near them. Using this application, victims or witnesses to a crime can submit a short report by providing basic details such as location, date, time, type, and description of the event. Reporters are also asked to provide a piece of advice for fellow users. This crowd-sourced data is put on a map and users can scan areas near them to view criminal activity. In the future, users will also be able to identify high-risk zones through heat maps. Subscribers will get location-based safety alerts on their smartphones
Behind the scene story
The team – Mukesh Gupta, Swapnil Jain, and Gautam Garg – had come together in May 2013. They were working on developing online marketing tools for businesses when a mutual friend of them became a victim of mobile snatching as well as victim of Police apathy. Looking at the attitude of the law enforcement agencies, the team felt there was a need for a platform where everyone could share their experiences and also get to know about criminal activity that is going on around the respective areas.
The idea resonated well with the team and in October, Zerocrime was born on October 21, 2013.
The Zerocrime team
The founding team of Zerocrime has three members – Mukesh Gupta, Swapnil Jain, and Gautam Garg. All of the team members are graduates of Delhi College of Engineering (now Delhi Technological University).
Mukesh and Swapnil have 2.5 years of experience in software development working with leading software MNCs while Gautam graduated in 2010 and have over 3 years of experience in strategic business research and consulting working in India and South Africa.
However, what binds them together is their passion for technology belief that they can leverage it for the good of society.
The journey so far
The team designed and developed the beta version of the Zerocrime application in two weeks time and launched it on Oct 21, 2013. The initiative was embraced with open arms and has been growing ever since.
The idea resonates well with everybody and many students and professionals have come forward to contribute in design, development, and marketing of the initiative. A few companies have even offered to provide their premium services at no cost for this initiative. They are also witnessing a steady increase in the number of reports that are filed by people. The short-term goal of the team is to spread the initiative as much as possible.
To-be launched features
The plan is to execute this initiative in three stages.
In the first stage, the focus is on crowd-sourcing reports. This is the key foundation of the initiative. This is what the current version is all about.
The developers plan to add a few additional features such as crime filters that allow the user to view specific crimes only. Once enough reports are available, the team will deploy their second phase which is rating/indexing neighborhoods with crime level. Users will be able to see a heat map of high-risk zones near them depending on the crime field they select.
In addition, the team plans to generate crime-related insights to share with law enforcement agencies, media houses, and anti-crime organizations/NGOs.
In the third stage, the plan is to make this initiative become highly actionable for the users. This is the stage where the users launch the smartphone application that will act as a personal safety guide. Through this application, users will be able to get safety notifications depending on their GPS location, send a SOS message to close family and friends in emergencies, located the nearest police station, and file a crime report.
Reaching out to the masses
Such applications tend to become successful and work well only if they reach to the masses. The team plan to market this initiative through three key channels – Social Media and Local Events, Student Chapters in Schools and Colleges, and Association with the Corporate Sector. In addition, they also have plans to add neighborhood communities on our platform where residents of a neighborhood can discuss crime in their area/colony and take appropriate steps (such as complaining to RWA over lax security, etc.).
The makers plan to run Zerocrime as a non-profit venture. As far as the monetization model goes, a model is being designed which is sustainable in the long run. While the platform and services will be completely free for the users and law enforcement agencies, a subscription fee might be charged for businesses that leverage the data/platform for commercial purposes.
TTP’s Take on Zerocrime
Team TTP believes this is a very commendable effort indeed. The initiative is very well executed, however, vigorous publicity is an important aspect for success. We wish team Zerocrime all the very best with their project!