Earlier this year we were invited to MIT’s Media Labs to discuss Deliktum, an open source crime tracking app for the people of Quito, Ecuador that was created by Jobsity’s development team. Andres Garzon headed up to Cambridge, Massachusetts to speak with Professor Ramiro Almeida’s class, Changing Cities: How to Prototype New Urban Systems, about how Deliktum came to be and how it has been utilized by the people of Quito. He described how Deliktum grew out of Jobsity’s belief in involvement, commitment, and empowerment as a workplace culture to drive innovation and personal enrichment.
As a company, we are continuously striving to promote the personal and professional growth of our employees. One way we do this is by staying after hours to work on projects that mix the mutual interests of Jobsity and its employees. When we do this, we aim to attain three things; involvement, commitment, and empowerment. First, we must get our team involved with a cause they feel is worthy. Then they must make a commitment to dedicate their free time to work on a project after hours and on the weekends. And finally, we empower our team members by letting them make the big decisions on these projects, so that they take pride in their work and learn to lead from experience.
For Deliktum, those mutual interests were new technologies and social change. Our developers wanted to create an app that would benefit their fellow citizens in Ecuador while, at the same time, learning a new programming language. In this case, the new programming language was Ruby on Rails and the social problem was crime. After working for hundreds of hours after work and on the weekends with countless scrum sessions and iterations, Deliktum was completed and the people of Quito had a new way to report crimes in their city.
Professor Almeida and his class were drawn to the way Deliktum takes advantage of technology to attempt to solve urban challenges i.e., high crime rates and low prosecution. Deliktum works as a decentralized system made up of citizens who anonymously report crimes when they occur. The app’s simple UX design makes it easy for citizens who have witnessed, or been victims of crime to sign-in to Deliktum anonymously and report a crime in under five “clicks”. The user simply opens the app, decides to report a crime, chooses which type of crime has occurred, gives a brief description accompanied with photos and other unique descriptors, and adds the incident to the crime map where it can be viewed by anyone that uses Deliktum. It has been described as the Foursquare of crime apps.
Since it was launched, hundreds of crimes have been reported in Quito using Deliktum. We hope to see this number rise as more people begin to use the app and realize the many benefits of decentralized reporting tools. However, it was a great project for our developers to work on and one which they felt compelled to complete because of the high crime rates in Quito.