NTalk: A Way to Revive Communities and Improve Safety
Presenter: Maria del Rocio Paniagua Dispa
El Colegio de México
Theme: New media: Engaging and empowering individuals
Violence and crime in Mexico have been on the rise for the past few years; in 2008 Mexico was ranked 16th of a 115, due to it’s violence and delinquency rates. Criminals are remaining unpunished, while civilian lives are lost in the war against crime; mainly, due to the inefficiency of the authorities and the lack of reports. At the same time, the rapid growth of technology has resulted in a great reduction of in-person social interactions; undermining the core fabrics of local communities.
During the first ten years of the millennium there has been an unprecedented growth of virtual social networks all over the world, but only in the past few years have local and global leaders committed themselves to moving forward, in order to solve some of societies most pressing issues with the use of this new and innovative technology. This is exactly the challenge taken on by this project: giving a practical, adaptable solution to the criminality and community dismantling problems found in Mexican cities (and also in many others around the world).
“Ntalk” short for neighbour talk) is a social network (smartphone application and web page) that works as a GPS that allows users to report crimes in real time by locating them on a map, once this is done, the program automatically generates a tag that can be seen by all other users in the area, so they can verify it if they are close by or simply avoid risky situations. It also promotes the call-in of reports by users that are nearby, and finally it makes criminals feel guarded, since anyone with Internet access will be able to post a description, photo or video of their actions. In the long run, this project is expected to greatly improve the pursuit of criminals, since great amounts of information can be uploaded in real time, therefore, making it easier for authorities to work more efficiently in the pursuit of crime by collaborating with society.
Also, it allows users to interact with one another, by reporting social activities, posting on forums and planning events. It has the best of both worlds, since users will be able to see all other active members on a map and interact with them on the public forums. But they will be able to plan private events only with the ones they choose to add as “neighbours”, and they will have full control on how much information they share about themselves.
The main objective of this project is to improve the lives of people living in cities, but it can also be profitable, since it makes collaborations with companies possible, mainly in the form of publicity, and since the technology used allows for live feed, on-site advertising and promotions are enabled.
Although it was designed as a solution to the problems in Mexican cities, the software will allow for changes that make it adaptable to the needs of different cities in the world, while remaining faithful to it’s main objective: community created safety.