How the telecom industry got real-time visibility to mitigate the impact of cable theft on people through SOSAFE.

Two people climbing a ladder to fix phone line cables
Monthly Reports

Challenges before SOSAFE

The theft of copper and fiber optic cables is a long-standing crime, however, it has been gaining strength in Chile for some years, given the increase in the value of copper and its easy export to the black market through organized gangs. During 2022, this crime of organized crime doubled compared to the previous year, triggering alerts from telecommunications companies regarding how to mitigate this criminal action, which directly affects the connection of homes, companies and institutions, and leaves as the main victims the people of the affected sector.

It is estimated that in 2022 there were nearly 30,000 cases of vandalism due to theft of cables, which left more than two million homes without connectivity. In fact, according to figures from Movistar Chile, only in the first 6 months of 2022 there were 11,600 crimes related to this type of event in Chile, where 66% of the cases occurred in the Metropolitan region, followed by the O'Higgins region. , the Biobío region and the Antofagasta region. But without a doubt, it is a crime that affects the country transversally.

In June 2022, Chile Telcos began the "we take care of the network" campaign, which seeks to make visible this crime that mainly affects the most vulnerable communes in the country and leaves millions of people, companies, institutions and homes without connection, affecting the operation of ATMs, supermarkets, traffic lights, health centers, police stations, civil registry, among others. For this reason, telecommunications companies, such as Movistar Chile, have been working together with authorities, police and neighborhood associations for several years, seeking to combat this crime that affects society so much.

Along with the campaign against cable theft, 800 441 441 was set up as a telephone number to report this crime anonymously. The opportunity was also seen to add SOSAFE as a formal reporting channel since the application has more than 1.5 million residents connected throughout the national territory and is perceived as a serious security tool that allows reporting and channeling information quickly.

A cut off stolen cable lineA heat map showing SOSAFE cable theft reports in Santiago, Chile


On July 6, 2022, a new report or complaint button called “Cable Theft” was launched in SOSAFE, available to the entire Metropolitan region. Although the users of the mobile application already denounced this crime through other types of SOSAFE reports, reaching 40 monthly alerts, with this incorporation it was sought to channel the information of this criminal activity more directly to be attended directly by the security teams.

Powerful communication was carried out around the "let's take care of the network" campaign, reporting on the formal complaint channels, including SOSAFE, and the great impact that disconnection caused by theft produces in people's daily lives of cables.

In addition to the direct attention to SOSAFE complaints by the security center, complaints of this nature are also attended to by SOSAFE's internal call center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping in the referral of help from the police and public institutions and connecting the residents of the sector so that, together, they act as true citizen vigilantes and feel more protected.

Results and benefits

6 months after launching the "cable theft" complaint on the app, the results are astounding. There have been around 500 monthly reports through SOSAFE and it has become the largest source of reports on this crime. This is mainly explained by the application's ease of use, since it improves patrol response and dispatch times by up to 3 times compared to an emergency phone call, and also by the implementation of a single button to report this crime.

The response from SOSAFE users has also been very positive, making proper use of the "Cable Theft" report within the application. It has also allowed residents to feel more protected and connected while at the same time it has managed to give a sense of commitment to the mitigation of this crime in the face of citizens by Telcos de Chile companies.

The collaboration between this industry and SOSAFE has been key to the success of the campaign, supporting each other both in the dissemination and in the daily operation of the alerts, which has translated into positive results to form a long-term alliance. In addition to making the "Cable Theft" report available in the SOSAFE app, the SOSAFE Portal has also been chosen as the main software to centralize this information, recording all complaints received through other communication channels such as telephone calls. , other social media apps and emails. This saves time in daily and operational management, by having everything consolidated in one place, as well as being able to obtain graphs and heat maps in real time to make better decisions regarding the allocation of patrol and surveillance resources.

Although currently the "Cable Theft" report is only available for the Metropolitan region, it is already being evaluated to enable it for other regions of Chile by the year 2023, mainly for the regions of O'Higgins, Bío Bío and Antofagasta, which are the most affected by this crime. This will undoubtedly make this problem visible at the national level and will raise awareness of its impact, making all citizens feel involved in reporting this crime to dismantle organized gangs and reduce the numbers of robberies that continue to increase.

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