A while ago, we first broke the news to our readers that the NYPD was developing a technique for crime video and picture submission directly to the police. The delivery system is now fully operational. However, these report hotlines and avenues are not for criminal activity alone. Quality of life issues can also be reported (potholes, poor parks conditions….) At the end of the News article, however, we ask questions regarding how this information can then be used in the private sector.
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
Now you can send images and videos from your phone to cops regarding crimes, and to 311 regarding quality of life issues. Picture this: You e-mail a photo of a fleeing crook that you took with your cell phone to cops, who use it to bust the bad guy in a flash.
Now it can happen.
“This technology should scare every would-be criminal because the chance of getting caught in the act is now better than ever,” said Bloomberg.
All callers have to do is tell the dispatcher that they have a picture that could be useful in the emergency. The information is provided to cops, who contact the callers and give them an e-mail address to send the photo to.
Bloomberg, however, warned aspiring crime stoppers to exercise common sense when taking pictures. “As helpful as your photo or video image is, do not put yourself in harm’s way to obtain them,” he said. “Your safety is paramount.”
When callers say they have a crime photo, the 911 dispatcher enters a special code in the NYPD’s internal system that provides cops with the good Samaritan’s phone number.
“It’s another building block in our partnership with the public,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, noting that last month, the NYPD started accepting text-message tips.
But photos aren’t just for combatting crime.
New Yorkers can also send photos and videos – to 311 or http://www.nyc.gov – concerning quality-of-life issues like potholes, dirty parks or broken pay phones.
As with the protocol for 911, callers to 311 have to alert operators that they have a photo of the offense. Callers are directed to http://www.nyc.gov, where they can directly send up to three photos.
“All of these things add to the quality of life in this city,” said Bloomberg.
Bloomberg said he wasn’t worried about the system being flooded with photos, but urged the public not to “cry wolf”. I think the problem is reverse,” he said. “That people don’t call us enough.”
From our perspective, the quality of life reports (potholes, dangerous intersections, cracked sidewalks…) raises all sorts of issues re: notice to the City. And, will these reports, if founded, be channeled to private organizations such as Big Apple? Can copies of these reports be FOILed? Viz. the criminal reports: can we now identify high-crime areas that should have been more aggressively patrolled? It will be interesting to see if this data can be accessed in preparation of litigation and if so, how it may be used in such capacity.
Our Operatives: Street smart; Net savvy.
As always, stay safe.
- Exclusive: Philadelphia Police Utilize Real-Time Crime Fighting (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
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