Liberia’s Free Mobile Phones Report Crime
January 3rd, 2008

Cellular-news reports this crime-stopping move in Liberia. The method is to give 10 mobile phones to prominent people in a village; the phones are pre-programmed to call local police for free:

Liberia’s government has started giving away specially programmed mobile phones to villages so that they can report crimes to the local police. The government project aims to give up to 10 phones to prominent people in each of 400 neighborhoods in and around the capital city, Monrovia.

Crime has become endemic in the country following the demobilization of militia groups which formed during the civil wars of the 1990’s. Most of the young adults who gave up their arms have not found replacement jobs and turned to violent crime. Liberia currently has an approximate 85% unemployment rate, the second highest in the world (The highest is 90% on the tiny island nation of Nauru).

The phones are pre-programmed to call the police for free – while commercial networks charge for such phone calls.

Unfortunately, one of the most desirable items for criminals to steal are mobile phones, so the locking system to prevent the phones being resold and used as normal phones has to be particularly secure from hacking.


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