Saskatoon-based technology innovator, Jeff Shirley, has been selected as the winner of the province’s first Rural Crime Innovation Challenge.
The challenge, organized by Innovation Saskatchewan in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice, is focused on addressing rural crime in Saskatchewan. Shirley, owner and principal consultant of Rivercity Technology Services Limited (RCT), will work on a project to develop prototypes to improve the safety and security of rural citizens and property.
“The Rural Crime Innovation Challenge is a new approach to helping Saskatchewan address crime,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Steven Bonk said. “The response to this program by tech companies and researchers speaks to the opportunity that exists to use technology to help solve everyday challenges in our province.”
As part of the challenge, Shirley and his firm, RCT, will participate in a 16 week residency program with the Ministry of Justice - working with William Topping, founder of Brand X Technologies, on the proposed solution. Together, they will design an application-based tracking system and GPS device to alert land owners about any event or irregular activity related to their property.
The goal is for rural residents to be able to log these events in an application that would immediately alert law enforcement officers; the GPS would make the device, which can be placed on property, trackable on mobile devices.
“We are excited to see the technology sector’s involvement in addressing crime in rural Saskatchewan,” Justice Minister Attorney General Don Morgan said. “This collaborative approach will help us find creative solutions to make Saskatchewan a safer place to live and raise a family.”
If the developed prototype meets the needs identified by the Ministry of Justice, it will be deployed in a pilot project, refined as necessary and eventually commercialized. This initiative forms part of the government‘s strategy on rural crime reduction announced in August, 2017.
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