CTV Saskatoon
Published Monday, December 4, 2017 5:29PM CST
Last Updated Monday, December 4, 2017 6:56PM CST

Saskatoon-based Rivercity Technology Services has created an app-based tracking system to help people in the countryside keep tabs on their property.

“We’re a small business and this is a huge jump for us,” said owner Jeff Shirley.

Shirley spoke to reporters at the Legislative Building in Regina Monday after his company was revealed as the winner of the province’s first Rural Crime Innovation Challenge.

“The Rural Crime Innovation Challenge is a new approach to helping Saskatchewan address crime,” Minister Responsible for Innovation Steven Bonk said in a news release. “The response to this program by tech companies and researchers speaks to the opportunity that exists to use technology to help solve everyday challenges in our province.”

The company has created a tracking system that alerts property owners when there is unusual activity.

“The farmer would theoretically get a text message saying his combine is going for a drive at a weird hour of the morning. If that’s normal he can disregard it and flag it as normal. If it’s not normal, they can flag it as suspicious,” said Shirley.

If the landowner flags the activity as suspicious, the app will notify police directly.

Rivercity Technology will work with the province and others to create the app-based tracking system.

This is the latest effort by the province to address rural crime. In August, it announced a rural crime response team to step up policing in rural areas.

“We are excited to see the technology sector’s involvement in addressing crime in rural Saskatchewan,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan said in a news release. “This collaborative approach will help us find creative solutions to make Saskatchewan a safer place to live and raise a family.”

The province is kicking in $10,000 for the app, and Shirley is promising the app will be affordable for those who want it.

The company hopes to have the devices ready by May 2018.