3rd April 2013

GeoVation winner develops new app to report hate crime

Viv Alexander

Shout  crime home screenLast year we ran a GeoVation Challenge asking how we could transform neighbourhoods in Britain.  One of the GeoVation winners was Shout Crime – an idea for app to make it easier to report hate crime.   Below David Williamson of Development Keys tells us how this is progressing.

Hate crime is one area of the criminal justice system that, evidence shows, often goes unreported. Recognising the negative impact that hate crime can have on individuals and communities,  Ideal for All (IFA), an Independent Living Centre in Sandwell, decided to use its experience and resources to make a real difference. Drawing on the passion of one of its User Groups, a project was conceived to develop a new, flexible and accessible reporting system for hate crime. an application that would provide  a crime reporting mechanism for individuals and a visual analysis tool for communities and agencies alike. Recognising the strength of commitment and the technical integrity of the project, Ordnance Survey decided to back the concept and awarded IFA  £25,000 to develop the first application for both desktop and mobile technologies.

Building on the excitement of receiving the award, Ideal for All  set about the detailed definition of the project that is ‘Shout Crime’. Our newly formed Steering Team, including experts in the field of Information Technology, crime reporting and community engagement, was supplemented with specific skill sets around project management and the delivery of successful web enabled applications. An Invitation To Tender was issued toward the end of 2012 with an aggressive set of requirements for delivery of the Shout Crime application by the end of March 2013. The New Year saw the development contract awarded to BoilerHouse Media, Birmingham and the project was up and running.

As a co-creation project, with a clear emphasis on accessibility, involvement of the User Group in the development of the application has been essential, including review and testing of visual concepts and prototype releases for both desktop and mobile technologies. The development team at BoilerHouse Media, headed up by Vicky Sargent, Client Services Director, have proved to be an excellent partner for the team at IFA in their ability to work with such a diverse group of stakeholders. Consolidating a complex set of inputs and requirements, March saw BoilerHouse Media successfully deliver the first fully functional prototypes of the ‘Shout Crime’ application, which many in the IFA User Group had only imagined might be possible when the concept was conceived.

A process of iteration is now underway, bringing together recommendations and learning from the user experience sessions the co-creation team have operated. Now, as the official launch approaches, excitement is rising among the User Group, Ideal for All, Community groups and law enforcement agencies alike.  As you would expect, the passion doesn’t end with this phase of the project and planning to extend the reach of ‘Shout Crime’ is well underway.

If you’re inspired by this idea you may be interested in our current GeoVation Challenge How can we help British  improve environmental performance?’  The Challenge runs until 1 May and the best ideas could win a share of £100,000.  Submit your ideas here.