Improved police performance thanks to GPS and hotline

June 01, 2012, Friday/ 15:03:00/ SERKAN SAĞLAM

The activation of the 155 police hotline and the use of GPS devices in police cars have proven to be effective as there has been an almost 100 percent increase in the number of criminals caught red-handed in the last three years.

According to statistics released by the İstanbul Police Department, the total number of burglars who were caught in the act by police in 2009 was 458, while this number rose to 656 in 2010, 701 in 2011 and 902 in the first five months of 2012.

This trend has been mirrored in car crime as well. In 2009, 274 car thieves were caught red-handed, while 384 car thieves were caught in the act 2010 and 421 in 2011. Finally, in the first five months of 2012, this number had risen to 457.

There has been similar success in narcotics crimes. In 2009, 11,835 illegal drug dealers were caught dealing; 21,959 were similarly caught in 2010. This rose to 22,954 in 2011 and again, in 2012 so far this number has increased to 16,073.

In 2011, of the total number of calls made to the 155 police hotline, 433,282 were made for traffic violations, while 1,163,072 were made for smuggling and terrorism related activities.

This improved success in catching criminals has been made with the help of GPS-equipped police cars and the 155 police hotline, which citizens can call at any hour of the day. To date, 2,251 police cars and motorcycles in İstanbul have been equipped with GPS devices.

Furthermore, with 4,196 devices linked to the Mobile Electronic Systems Integration (MOBESE) -- an alarm system with integrated security cameras placed throughout the city's streets to fight crime -- police officers can follow fleeing criminals and inform police vehicles on patrol about the criminals' whereabouts.

The total number of calls made to the 155 police hotline in 2011 was 3,759,970. The greatest number of calls came from İstanbul's densely populated districts of Kadıköy and Fatih. Most of the calls are made on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and the month with the highest number of calls recorded was May, 2011.

Almost one-third of the calls made to the 155 hotline were found to be hoaxes or unrelated to actual crimes, however, the number of these calls is decreasing as well. In 2009, 836,000 of the total 2,650,000 calls made to the police hotline did not yield results as they were either not directly connected to a crime or were hoaxes; in 2010 this number was 707,000 of 2,689,000. In 2011 it had decreased to 661,000 of 3,760,000. Many of the hoax calls were discovered to have been made by children.

An İstanbul man, Selim Şimşiroğlu, related one of his experiences to Today's Zaman, telling how he once witnessed a car violating traffic rules and called the 155 police hotline. He said the driver of the car was caught exactly five minutes after he called and that the police called him later asking whether he had any complaints about the driver or not. “The police were much quicker than I expected. I couldn't believe it. I don't know how to thank them enough for their efforts,” he said.

Another man, Ahmet Y. said that three minutes after he called the police to inform them about a thief having broken into an apartment next to his, five police cars arrived.

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