Fighting crime through technology


With the Police statistics in 2014 noting that crime rates increase at 8% per annum, David Farmer started Pro Private Investigators (PPI) to assist fight against criminals.

PPI managing director Farmer has in his pocket 26 years of experience in the investigating world acquired through working with the Namibian Police and the security services of Namdeb Diamond Corporation coupled with a passion to help fight crime.

PPI is based on forensic investigations, device tracking and solving of municipal account queries, but has more evolved into focusing on a holistic solution in terms of device tracking and police liaison services.

“Back in 2009, as an investigator, I used to get a lot of calls from various people needing my services especially to recover stolen items mainly computers, laptops and cell phones. Thus I started researching about the stolen computer and cell phone rates in the country which seemed to be high rocketing. ”

Through various researches, Farmer discovered  that  just  in  the year 2009, it was estimated that 50 computers/ laptops were  stolen every month in Windhoek alone; “ using the 80:20 rule , 80% of this will be for civil servants which means that 480 computer/ laptops is estimated lost by civil servants in a year. Assume this figure for the rest of the regions in Namibia in 2009, estimated loss will be 6 240 in Namibia,” he stated.
With those statistics in mind, Farmer knew he needed to start a business meant to lower such criminal acts. He started looking for the right tracking device software system which could enable government amongst other organization, the possibility for their stolen assets to be tracked, recovered and returned to their lawful owners.

Thus, the company which started to fully operate in 2014 offers tracking devices  for laptop / desktop computers which can be used for trace track, data protection, investigation and recovery. Furthermore, there is a device tracking for cell phones and tablets which enables monitoring, tracking, theft and basic theft recovering services.

Over the past year, the company has been negotiating with Absolute, a Canadian based company which provides tracking software for computers and other portable devices. PPI has secured the rights in Namibia to unlock that information and locate such devices.

However, they operate mostly with Samsung phones that have compatible software with the device tracking software.   

Farmer notes that once his client has their cell phone or computers stolen, the client knows it will be recovered.

“However, one needs to know that before we start the investigation to recover the stolen item, they need to report the case at the Police and once they have got the CR number, then we start tracking the stolen item. Once we have located the item, we inform the police. We strive to work within police regulation,” he says.

After seeing PPI’s device tracking software work complimentary with the actions of the Police does, The City Police has already a buy in the technology and together with PPI is finalizing negotiation in a bid to assist them in recovering stolen electronic devices.

Furthermore, Farmer noted that they have been doing presentation within government agencies starting with the Prime Minister office to explain the product and its benefits and how it can save them a lot of money in case the computers were to be stolen.

Farmer stresses that individuals are still reluctant to get those tracking software for their laptop or cell phone thinking that it would be a waste of money until their items have been stolen, “individuals need to understand that this is a prevention method and it secures their items and we can only help them once they have the tracking device installed in.”

The tracking devices are payable annually and cost N$ 1200 for the laptops and N$600 for the cell phones and the students are able to receive discounts.

He adds that stolen items can also be traced outside of the country as they have partners working with them.

“Sometimes once an item is stolen, the clients are more concerned about their data than the item so they would rather ask PPI to either wipe all data or retrieve it remotely.
Going forward, Farmer who currently employs six people intends to expand his company in various other regions and also reckons that they are working on a tracking device for smart TVs.

Beside the tracking system, PPI  also does forensic investigations and utility management involving monitoring, accurate recording and reporting of water and electricity consumption; submission of water and electricity readings to local municipality, elimination of estimations by the local municipality, early detection of water leakages and higher consumption of electricity.

“People don’t realize that this is a prevention measure, once you have it, you pay a little money per year. I am trying to spread the word about our services.”