Local Radio Station Combats Crime

Mar 142009

At 2:45 a.m., I got a call from my friend, the news editor at the government's ELBC radio station. She whispered armed robbers are at my house. They were driving a pickup truck into the wall of her gated compound, trying to break it down. They cursed and yelled asking her to open the gate. They used iron rods to try to pry it loose, and then one used a metal pole to attempt to vault over the wall.

She explained that she couldn't get anyone to respond on the emergency services number, which also happens to be 911.

I called. And, there was no answer. I had two other friends calling to no avail. Finally, my office mate suggested that we call TRUTH FM, 96.1. In the wee hours, 2-4:30 a.m., they air a show called Crime Watch.

It works kind of like a police scanner. Liberians who need assistance call in a say where they are and what's happening. The police monitor the show and respond. In a country where land lines are pretty much non-existent and where bad weather can wipe out thousands of cell phone users. The radio has great power.

Before her request for help aired, the Liberian Emergency Response Unit finally answered her call. They arrived on the scene, secured the area and arrested two of the culprits. Two others got away.  They advised that for quicker response, next time she should air it on Crime Watch.