The implementation of a system in Querétaro in which police file crime reports on tablet computers has drastically reduced waiting times for victims and increased by 40% the number of robberies reported.
State Government Secretary Juan Martín Granados Torres told the newspaper El Universal that since the scheme was put into action in May 2016, robbery victims have been able to file reports in just 40 to 45 minutes with officers who attend the scene of the crime.
The system allows crime victims to avoid having to spend as long as seven hours waiting in a prosecutor’s office, he said.
Police use tablets to file reports of home and business robberies, vehicle theft and muggings, which together account for 50% of all offenses reported in the state.
Granados said it is now more common for robbery victims to a report a crime in Querétaro than in any other Mexican state.
He explained that the software program used to file the reports was developed by young residents of Querétaro and is the only technology of its kind in use in Mexico.
About 2,000 state and municipal police officers are fully trained in the use of the program, Granados said.
Reports filed on tablets are transferred in real time to a database at the Querétaro security coordination center, known as CQ-CIAS.
The official said the innovative reporting system allows authorities to “guarantee the human right of access to justice,” adding that some reports filed on tablets have ultimately resulted in criminal convictions and lengthy jail sentences for the perpetrators.
Granados said that every report is analyzed and investigated by state police, adding that the Querétaro Attorney General’s Office (FGE) is one of the most successful prosecutor’s offices in the country in terms of apprehending criminals and bringing them before the courts.
“. . . About 70% of matters that are taken to judges are the product of an FGE investigation” rather than cases in which the criminal was caught in the process of committing a crime, he said.
The government secretary stressed that crime statistics must be analyzed with the new reporting system in mind. The numbers show that theft reports have risen by 40% over the past three years and that there is an average of 14 crime reports in Querétaro per 100,000 residents, whereas the national average is eight.
But that doesn’t mean that the state has become more dangerous.
“. . . It’s not that there are more crimes but rather there are more reports. Having more reports, police have more information that . . . allows them to achieve better results,” Granados said.
A woman identified only as Eugenia told El Universal that the tablet-based reporting system has made it “very easy” to file a criminal report.
She explained that her mother was a victim of a robbery at her home, but “we weren’t sure if we would report it because we thought we’d waste a whole day making statements at the prosecutor’s office.”
“. . . We decided to call 911 . . . [and] they sent a police car . . . I took about 15 minutes to get to my mother’s house and to my surprise I found that two police were [already] there filing the report. They didn’t take more than 45 minutes . . . They recorded all the details and informed a prosecutor,” Eugenia explained.
“. . . Days later, we went to one of the prosecutor’s offices to elaborate on the report and the truth is we realized that everything we had said, which the police recorded at the time on the tablet, was already in the system. This scheme made things easier for us . . .”
Source: El Universal (sp)