Ugandan invents gadget for reporting crimes
Martin Kitubi
Journalist @New Vision

In Uganda, thousands of crimes go unreported and several people often do not get justice. It is worse with domestic violence, where people shy away from reporting offenders due to fear of stigma or cultural ties.

However, a group of youth have invented a bracelet that can be used to alert authorities and friends on not only domestic violence and rape, but also robberies, Saul Kabali, the cofounder of ‘SafeBangle’ bracelet, said.

If deployed, the SafeBangle can be used to locate a kidnapped person.

Kabali said they were inspired by the increasing crime rates at universities to develop the bracelet.

“I was at Makerere University and there were several cases of sexual assault, especially against female students. Many of them would not report because of fear of the offenders and this prompted us to develop it,” he said.

Kabali said in just five seconds, one is able to report or alert their closest people for rescue.

During kidnaps, he said, the bracelet would be triggered to alert your family and friends on how to trace you.

Tested prototype

“We have tested it already in northern Uganda. It has reported some cases of domestic violence,” he said on Friday, at the DataFest Kampala 2021, an event organised by Makerere University through Resilient Africa Network (RAN).

The DataFest took place at the Makerere University RAN Lab at Kololo, a Kampala city suburb. It was organised under the theme, Utilising data to inform creativity and innovation. Kabali said once mass production starts, the bracelet would be affordable to even those in rural areas.

Dr Roy Mayiga, the RAN deputy chief of party at Makerere University, said the innovation would help security forces detect and respond to crimes in real time.

“These innovations are good. What the innovators need now is financial support to commercialise their ideas to bring money to the country,” he said.

According to the Police Crime Report of 2020, 195,931 criminal cases were reported in 2020.

Besides the bracelet, there were four other unique innovations at DataFest.

These included the Akatale Fresh, a mobile application for buying and selling of fresh foods, My Lib, a digital library for schools with audio and visual contents.

Others were EzyAgric, a mobile application that can provide agriculture extension services and Centres4Her, an application that can help assaulted ladies access legal, police and health services.

Eunice Patricia Aber, a data scientist at EzyAgric, said: “The agriculture extension services in Uganda are broken. Farmers do not know the right inputs and machinery. This is what we are here to solve.”

How it works

The prototype is similar to a wristwatch, but Kabali said he is developing some that are similar to bangles.

These, he said, will not be traceable and will not be identified by criminals.

The bracelet is connected to at least five mobile phone numbers of trusted people who can rescue the victim in case of any danger. It can also be connected to authorities to detect whoever calls for help.

For instance, if a student attended a party and is connected to five friends via the bracelet, the student can simply press the bracelet to alert friends if in danger. The alert will also give the location of the person.


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