Smart Patrol is an app developed within the framework of "Ven911", the recent citizen security strategy of the Venezuelan government. The tool for citizen participation has aims to strengthen the crime monitoring activities of police units in the country.
Problems and Purpose
The Smart Patrol App (Span. Patrullaje Inteligente) is a smartphone app developed as a supporting tool for monitoring crime and security concerns within the framework of "Ven911", the recent citizen security strategy of the Venezuelan government. In 2019 the website ven911.gob.ve states that there are 2119 quadrants of peace nationwide. Each quadrant has a unit for smart patrolling (UPIs) that consists of eight officials, two motorcycles and a police car.
In order to use the app, citizens must download it to a phone with an active GPS connection. Through the application's "search" function, they can find UPIs in their areas and through the "SOS" function they can call one of them for immediate assistance or make a complaint. These complaints can include any crime related to burglary, drug trafficking, use of firearms, kidnapping, smuggling, gender violence and any other kind of issue affecting their communities. However, some articles in national as well as international press have reported that the successful implementation of this participatory mechanism would have to rely heavily on citizens trusting the efficiency of the citizen security system.
Background History and Context
In January 2014, the app was launched as a tool for citizen participation with the purpose of strengthening the smart patrolling (lit. Patrullaje Inteligente) activities of police units in the "quadrants of peace". At first, the strategy was put in practice only within five districts in Caracas. Over the years the government has widened the scope of the activities of the security corps to other areas of the country as well, prioritising geographical regions according to their population density, topography and crime incidence.