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Home » News » Crime » Technology that targets thieves, killers

Technology that targets thieves, killers

Publishing Date : 12 September, 2016

Author : AUBREY LUTE

An online database company, Adams Database is piling up pressure on the Botswana Police Service, Pawn shops, retail outlets and other stakeholders to enter into loose compact agreements that would see technology being efficiently employed to help reduce crimes of all kinds.

Despite writing a proposal to the Botswana Police Service two years ago expressing interest in working with the law enforcement entity at no cost to fight crime, Adams Database is yet to receive a response.

“But this has not stopped us from forging ahead with our intention. Although this is a business, we believe this will cover as a big relief to the wider public because crime is giving many of our people sleepless nights,” said Victor Setlhare, a founder and senior partner at Adams Database.

Setlhare said the Crime and Investigations Department (CID) of the Botswana Police has expressed interest in working with them to recover stolen goods.

“This is not just about recovering stolen  goods such as cellphones, television screens, fridges and others, our application has the ability to solve other crimes that may be occasioned in the process of stealing these goods,” observed Setlhare.

On the other hand, the police are pretty busy and may not have time or resources readily available to investigate theft cases immediately hence an online database could complement police work, he stressed.

Other crimes that the Adams Database proprietor is confident they will help solve include murder, common theft, assaults, fraud, cross border theft, and obtaining by false pretence among others.

He said they already have agreements with some furniture shops and pawn shops that have lost millions of Pula as a result of goods being stolen and not being recovered by the police. He said their technology will also help the Botswana Police to be in a position to locate owners of goods as soon as they are recovered.

Setlhare said key to their technology is that before goods go missing or are stolen, they are captured into the database by recording their model, serial numbers, and where they were bought.

“The key to recovering lost or stolen electronics is to know their pertinent digits and in this case, their model and serial numbers. If you file a police report for stolen equipment, the form will ask for this information, and having the serial number makes it much easier to reclaim your property,” observed Setlhare.

He said most of the stolen goods are usually sold to pawn shops and having them on board is critical.

“We want them to register all the goods they buy from people into our database so that if whatever they buy could be potentially stolen property the system reports immediately,” he added.

Setlhare said their mission is to reduce the trade of stolen property in Botswana and to provide the community with increased visibility of stolen property and pets nationwide, to assist individuals, businesses and police in the recovery of stolen goods and to aid the prevention of the trade of stolen property while achieving the bigger picture of reducing crime.

The Adams Database team encouraged individuals and companies to open accounts with them where they will register their goods. They explained that a Household Account can be opened at P50 and one will be able to register all their electronics, and other goods. They say it is important to bring receipts along if they are still available. The model or make will determine the price one has to pay to register individual goods, but it rangers from P30 to P120, explained Setlhare.

“The reason why we want pawn shops, furniture shops and other retailers to enter into a working relationship with Adams Database is for us to become an open-source alternative for tracking stolen laptops, phones, televisions, fridges, radios and tablets among other goods,” said a partner at Adams Database, Shima Petrus Keakopa. He emphasised that database of stolen items will help to prevent their resale and help police find the goods and their rightful owners.  

As an advice to property owners, Keakopa said, “If you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy, you should probably photograph your valuable personal property. When snapping shots of your electronics equipment, you're better off capturing the bottom or back of the device wherever the model and serial numbers are located because the information may come in handy when goods are stolen,” he said.

Keakopa indicated that they intend to approach the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding so that they can help reduce cross border crime. He said they are busy developing a system that could assist their customers beyond borders. Keakopa observed that equipment is stolen in Botswana is taken to other neighbouring countries. He said the application will require that people bringing gadgets from outside Botswana quickly enter them into the database at the border.

He further pointed out that other crimes are committed during the process of stealing or robbery. He gave examples of murder and assault, further stressing that stolen goods if recovered can help reveal perpetrators of crimes.

“You know police investigations are sophisticated, with the help of technology it can be easy to identify a needle in a haystack,” he said.

Keakopa also observed that the Insurance industry and furniture shops could save millions of Pula which they spend as pay-outs to cover for stolen goods. He said fraud cases where people make false claims of theft could be arrested if their technology is given support. 


He said Adams Database, a leading asset data management system company providing peace of mind to businesses and home owners with monitored asset management systems and support, is mentored and housed by the Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH).  Setlhare and Keakopa are confident that with the support of BIH and the Botswana Police Service, their technology approach can help reduce crime significantly.

“I read somewhere that since the introduction of bolus insertion in cattle, theft of livestock has gone down almost 60 percent,” said Setlhare.

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