The Role of Mobile Phone Tracking Technology in Crime Prevention in Kenya: A Case of Nairobi City County
Apima, Margaret B.
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Traditionally, the prevention of crime has been the main aim of the police organizations since the start of the first modernized police agency. Technology today has greatly advanced and police officers can now, through mobile tracking technology, locate all calls received at the ICT command center and in turn know the exact location where there is distress and respond as required. The study sought to the role of Mobile Phone Tracking Technology in crime prevention and how if embraced it can help the national police service in the prevention of all crimes. Specifically, the study sought to examine the perceived usefulness of mobile phones by the police officers in crime prevention in Nairobi City County; to analyze how mobile phone tracking techniques help in mapping crime to prevent crimes in Nairobi City County; to investigate how the ease of use of mobile phone by police officers helping crime prevention in Nairobi City County; to establish how mobile phone tracking can be used to gather evidence for prosecution in Nairobi City County and to come up with best ways in which mobile phone tracking technology can be used in crime prevention in Nairobi city county. The study design was descriptive incorporating both qualitative and quantitative techniques. From the target population of 694 police officers serving in Langata and Embakasi divisions; the researcher targeted 208 respondents from all the cadres of regular police. Questionnaires were utilized in collecting the Primary data. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze the data and presented in form of tables and charts. The study found that respondents used mobile phone tracking technology to a great extent in crime prevention. The study also found out that the drops in crime rates was due to the willingness of people to contact law enforcement agencies using their cell phones, hence, improving response time of police units. The study also found that many police departments did not have mobile phone crime mapping and that the crime data used in their departments contained geographic reference. Majority of the police had received training on mobile phone technology crime mapping techniques. However, crime mapping analysis was conducted as needed though some factors impacted on respondent‟s ability to use mobile phone technology in crime mapping effectively. The study further found out that police officers had functional free emergency phone numbers known to the public and which the police often received calls from the public. The study also found out that mobile phone tracking was used to gather evidence for prosecution. The study concludes that cell phones applications contributed extensively in compacting crime activities as it contributed to drop in major crimes. The study further concludes that majority of classification techniques established to predict crime prone areas are indeed more accurate. The study further concludes that mobile phones allowed the sharing of information with the police on crime issues instantly (real time) and they were also used to prove a case in the court of law. The study recommends that in order to help law enforcement officers to have a deep understanding and proper attitude in regards to usage of IT as policing tools, there needs to be an awareness program put in place. This will give details on the optimistic features of utilizing computers for policing purposes.