The Metropolitan Police Department of Ulaanbaatar launched the “Neighborhood” program in July 2015, with the intention of providing residents with a peaceful and secure living environment. As part of the program, residents are now able to report crimes and criminal activity by submitting video of events witnessed to neighbourhood.mn and through the iPOLICE smartphone application.
Lieutenant M.Zorigtbaatar, public relations official of the Metropolitan Police Department, spoke to local media about the Neighborhood program and its latest developments.
How many reports of criminal activity have the police received through social media?
Preparations for the Neighborhood program were completed in 2015, and the program will be carried out from 2016 to 2020. Residents should join the program voluntarily to cooperate with the police by establishing a contract of trust with their affiliated police department’s inspectors.
In what capacity will residents participate in the program?
The residents of apartment complexes should join and choose a leader for their apartment group. Then, the leader will establish a contract of trust with a police inspector. Accordingly, an apartment group creates a network to report crime or violations to the police.
The Khurshiin Khyanaltiin Buleg (Neighborhood Watch Group) is operating on Facebook, where the residents can get the latest information about the program.
The apartment group leaders will be given access logins for the website after signing a contract of trust with a police department inspector. Members of neighborhood watch groups will be able to share information about violations and criminal activities, and report them to the police. So far, 856 neighborhood watch groups have joined the program, and over 2,200 members have joined the website.
Will the police reward citizens who report a violation?
A citizen can report information about criminal activities to the police. At the moment, authorities are discussing whether or not a certain amount of monetary incentive will be provided in cases where the reported violation leads to an investigation by the police. A final decision will be made by the City Council in 2016.
Ample information has been spread through social media which has not been officially verified. When law enforcement starts investigating information being shared, the person who initially shared the information cannot always be confirmed or found. Therefore, the police have started to gather information with the involvement of citizens.
In addition, the police launched the smart phone application IPOLICE in the second quarter of 2016. The application allows people to upload videos and photos of criminal activity without signing up. The email address of the individual who uploads information will automatically be registered. Through the application, people who have submitted reports can check to see how the case was resolved.
How many reports about criminal activities have the police received through the application so far?
So far, the police have received over 100 reports through the application. District police departments are investigating the reports. Most of the reports are related to traffic violations, alcohol abuse, and places that have violated alcohol sales rules. Also, we have received several reports about cases that were already being investigated by the police.
How much time does it take for the police to start an investigation and take legal measures in response to reports submitted through the smartphone application?
The reports from the iPOLICE application are automatically forwarded to the affiliated district’s police departments. Special personnel has been appointed to monitor reports received through the application.
Many altered images and edited videos about candidates in the 2016 election were spread through social media. Did the police receive complaints about that?
The iPOLICE application did not receive any information regarding the election campaigns.
What if citizens report false information?
So far we have not received any false reports. The police will take legal measures against those who submit misleading or false information.
Emergency hotlines, such as 102 and 103, are free of charge. Is it possible to use the iPOLICE application for free when someone has no credit on their phone?
The police are in the process of signing agreements will mobile phone service providers to allow the submission of information about criminal activities without requiring credit on a phone. We expect the application to be available without credit requirements in 2016.