App to tackle wildlife crime on Regent’s Canal

Regent's Canal in the early morning (Flickr Creative Commons)

The Community & Wildlife Watch app, created by Smart Earth Network (SEN), attaches a GPS location to photos taken on the canal.

Any photographs uploaded will then be sent to Islington’s Wildlife Crime Officer for inspection.

The app is part of a wider effort to tackle crime on Regent’s Canal and will be available for public download in the next few weeks.

SEN was approached by Wildlife Crime Officer Tracy Parker for help conserving wildlife in Regent’s Canal.

SEN co-founder Sarah Labrasca said: “Tracy came round to talk to us about the Wildlife and Crime Watch. We mentioned the app and she thought it was a great idea. That was last week, so everything’s moved quite quickly.”

Stuart Robertson, Building Manager of Wollf Olins, kickstarted the initiative after pedestrians threatened the safety of a family of swans who live beside the Regents Wharf building.

He said: “There are people who kill and eat the swans. People come from all over Europe where swan is on the menu. It’s not a malicious thing.

“Some mornings I came here to find the windows broken. Over the last few years the level of crime has gone down. Kids tend to throw things at the wild birds but members of the public usually call them out. They do it out of ignorance.”

The app will also help to tackle anti-scocial behaviour on the canal.

Sarah Labrasca said: “Recently there were six or seven young people who were inhaling nitrus oxide. They got high and then brought out knives and started fighting. It’s not very nice. There’s no lighting and no cameras. There should be something, there ought to be CCTV.”

Wildlife Officer Tracy Parker said: “Crime isn’t horrendous but education is key. We are building a community. Its like a neighbourhood watch and we are trying to bring different communities together. We’re here to look at everybody’s ideas are and are creating a system for everyone to feed back information. It’s early days yet.”


Featured image: Flickr-Creative Commons