Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Ahmad Naveed, a mechanical engineer from Nanaimo, has created Nanaimo Thief Tracking, an online application that allows anyone to plot locations and share details about thefts. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Thief Tracking allows anyone to plot locations and share information about thefts online. (Nanaimo Thief Tracking image)
Ahmad Naveed, a mechanical engineer from Nanaimo, has created Nanaimo Thief Tracking, an online application that allows anyone to plot locations and share details about thefts. So far, the application has helped a stolen patio heater be returned to its owner. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

A recent graduate from the University of British Columbia’s mechanical engineering program with a little spare time on his hands has devised a way to keep track of local thievery.

Ahmad Naveed, who is currently living in Nanaimo, has created Nanaimo Thief Tracking, an app that allows anyone aware of a theft to share the details and plot the location online.

Naveed, who is currently doing contract work from his family’s home, said the idea for the program was sparked by the frequency of theft in Nanaimo.

“I just noticed there was a bit of an epidemic out there and people were complaining about how they were affected by the local thieving,” Naveed said. “I thought it would be cool to have an app that people can submit their own information on in a little map with a time stamp, so that people around there can realize what’s happening and be more careful.”

People can pull up a map of Nanaimo on the application’s web page, click on the symbols of thefts plotted on the map, which calls up the details of the theft, including time, items taken and their descriptions and other information the poster shared. The shared information can be used by others to keep an eye out for stolen property. In one instance the theft of a patio heater, stolen from a restaurant in a shopping plaza, that was shared on Nanaimo Thief Tracking, resulted in it being found a short time later when another user of the app came across it beside the E&N Trail and posted that information.

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Naveed said his home computer is acting as the online server for the program, which took him between 20 and 30 hours to write. He learned coding while studying robotics, which requires engineers to learn the skill.

“In this day and age all engineers have to have some software experience,” he said.

The app is free to use and anyone who wants to share information about a theft or learn more about where others have been happening can do so by visiting www.nanaimothieftracking.tk:3001/.

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