Interview with Mukesh Gupta: Co-Founder of Zerocrime


Zerocrime is a social initiative that uses crowd-sourcing to map criminal activities in cities and towns in India. Founded by a team of three graduates from Delhi College of Engineering, Zerocrime launched the beta version of their application October, 2013. We got a chance to ask some questions about Zerocrime to one the founders Mukesh Gupta. A big thanks to Mukesh for this interview!


From Left to Right: Mukesh Gupta, Swapnil Jain, Gautam Garg

Describe yourself in one sentence.

Dreamer, Observer, Listener

How would you describe Zerocrime to our readers?

Zerocrime is a cause where citizens, in a single voice, fight for the peace of their surroundings. Living in India, we often become victims or witnesses of a crime incident. And we desperately want justice and our complaints to be heard. Yet the ground reality is that either we do not speak up or the authorities refuse to listen to us. Societal pressure, apathy of the Police, or just the investment of time deters us from taking action. This leads to an environment of sustainable crime. Zerocrime is an attempt to break that.

Using a web application(Mobile application to be added soon), users can file unofficial and anonymous crime report with Zerocrime. Zerocrime with aggregate these reports and create a map of high-risk zones for its users. Neighborhoods will be rated depending on the prevalence of criminal activity and users/businesses can take informed decisions for their safety or the safety of friends/employees.

Tell us about the co-founders Swapnil Jain and Gautam Garg.

All three of us are from Delhi College of Engineering. Gautam graduated in 2010 and has over 3 years of experience in strategic business research and consulting working in India and South Africa. Swapnil has around 2.5 years of experience in software development working with Oracle and Adobe.

How is Zerocrime funded?

Currently, Zerocrime is funded by its founders. We are working towards building a sustainable revenue model where businesses will be required to pay a subscription fee to leverage our data/insights for commercial purposes.

How do you plan to get people to report on the website considering that the core of Zerocrime is crowd-sourcing?

We are working towards a social model where we create the concept of communities. For example, on our platform residents of a particular locality can report and discuss criminal activity prevailing near them. The local RWA/local Police station can also be part of this community and the residents together can pressurize them into taking action. We feel that crime has affects all of us in some way and an initiative like Zerocrime is likely to resonate well with everybody. Over time, our aim is to bring law enforcement agencies on board with Zerocrime. This will ensure that reports filed on Zerocrime are official. I believe this will be the biggest incentive for the users.

How do you plan to cover crime reports from smaller cities or villages where the internet and social media and still new or unknown?

We do plan to introduce reporting crime incidents via IVRS and potentially even SMS. When a user sends an SMS or gives a miss call to Zerocrime, a call centre executive can call back to get the details. But definitely, we will have to figure out an incentive for users to report from such areas.

You mentioned that Zerocrime aims to “assist law enforcement agencies” in mitigating crime in India. Do you plan to tie up with the police or government in anyway?

Yes. Currently, our law enforcement system is not perfect and that is why we see many cases going unregistered. However, we also believe that the Police is sincerely trying to reach out to the citizens. Many States in India have started Facebook Pages, Twitter Accounts, and facility of Online FIRs. If the intention is there, we believe the law enforcement agencies will come onboard. And that is important. Once they are on board, all reporting will become official and increase accountability, pressurizing the Police to take action. In the initial stages, we plan to share crime-related insights with them so that they can take up preventive measures.

What is your plan for Zerocrime on mobile?

Mobile will become our primary channel. Given that mobile has a higher penetration as well as a better user experience, our focus will eventually shift towards mobile. The Zerocrime mobile application will primarily act a personal safety guide for the user. Users will be able to send SOS messages with their location coordinates in emergency situations, locate the nearest police station, get safety alerts when roaming in sensitive areas, and file crime incidents.

Where do you see Zerocrime in 5 years time from now?

In the US, when someone witnesses a crime incident they immediately call 911. I would like Zerocrime to be that official interface for citizens. In the event of a crime incident, the user pushes a key on the smartphone application. This is an official distress notification. The call center executive provides the GPS location of the user to the nearest PCR van and then calls the user to get more information. The executive records a statement and quickly fills out an official crime report. This information is added to the Zerocrime database for the purpose of analytics. A sanitized version of the copy is also shared with media houses that have subscribed to Zerocrime. Depending on the gravity of the situation, the media house can choose to send a team to the location.

This is what I see. I am not sure if it takes 5 or 10 years to get here. But our aim is to create a powerful anti-crime ecosystem. Getting people to report incidents is the first step.

What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?

Our current biggest hurdle is limitation of resources to reach out to as many people as possible. Spreading the idea of Zerocrime is our primary focus at the moment. Getting people to report is critical for our cause.

Join the cause on Zerocrime’s offical website and like them on their Facebook page. If you have any questions for Mukesh or us, just leave a comment below.


Leave A Reply