JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A group of innovative youngsters from Waterford High School in St. Catherine are proposing the use of modern technology to assist in the fight against praedial larceny.
  • The system consists of a motion detector, which is concealed under the ground and designed to trigger an alarm, flashing lights, and a camera when thieves pass over, or near the device.
  • Farmers can also connect the system’s motion sensor camera to their mobile phones via the Internet, and monitor activities on their farms.

A group of innovative youngsters from Waterford High School in St. Catherine are proposing the use of modern technology to assist in the fight against praedial larceny.

The four students, Cardia Williams; Kema Anderson; Ifanie Grant; and Shenel Allen, under the guidance of their science teacher, Tera Rankine, have designed an anti-praedial larceny device, which they hope will help to curtail the crime.

The system consists of a motion detector, which is concealed under the ground and designed to trigger an alarm, flashing lights, and a camera when thieves pass over, or near the device.

Farmers can also connect the system’s motion sensor camera to their mobile phones via the Internet, and monitor activities on their farms.

“The farmer would need to have Internet access and service on his cellular phone to view activities on his farm remotely, because the footage would be sent through email,” Kema explained. “With this service the farmer is able to view his farm from any location and will be able to determine if it’s a false alarm or a genuine threat.”

The fifth form student further informed that the system is weather proof and requires minimal upkeep.

He was speaking with JIS News, on behalf of his teammates, following the 4th staging of the Katalyxt Youth Innovators’ Competition at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on May 14.

The ground-breaking idea earned the team the Big Idea Award in the annual entrepreneurship competition, which is open to high school students across the island.

The students are hopeful that their creation will be taken even further. Their goal is for the idea to be transformed into a viable business venture, which can assist farmers in protecting their crops and livestock from criminals.

The widespread theft of agricultural produce and livestock remains a serious concern, with data indicating that some 658 cases of praedial larceny were received by the police between January 1 and October 31, 2013, resulting in 362 prosecutions and 78 convictions.

Kema noted that this was the main motivation behind the creation of the system, as his team had become increasingly concerned with the prevalence of the act and its effect on local farmers.

“At Waterford High school we are often encouraged and challenged by our teachers to find solutions for the problems that we face in Jamaica and we think that this idea is a great opportunity to use modern technology to combat such a widespread problem,” he said.

The foursome, who are all members of the school’s Science and Environment club, are brimming with brilliant ideas to transform their country and are hoping they will be given the opportunity to make a significant difference in Jamaica’s development.

The team also received the runner-up Sustainability Award in the competition for their solar water bottle project, which is aimed at reducing the amount of electricity used at their school.
Through this project, the youngsters have transformed used plastic drink bottles into ‘solar bulbs’, which they fill with water and two drops of bleach. The bottles are then installed in a hole in the zinc roof where it is held in place by glue and the area is sealed off.  The students now use 16 of these ‘solar bulbs’ to provide light to their classroom.

Team Leader, Katalyxt Jamaica, Winsome Minott said she is impressed with the students’ innovative spirit and creativity, pointing out that there is no doubt that their idea for the praedial larceny device can become commercially viable with some amount of work.

“It’s a great project, it just needs development,” she stated. Ms. Minott gave the commitment that Katalyxt will be working with those schools that have done well to advance their ideas.