The Internet may be the hottest policing tool since lie detectors and squad cars.
Law enforcers from Florida to Washington State are discovering that ordinary citizens by the thousands seem eager to team with police in fighting crime – provided their partnership is geared around e-mails and Web pages.
At the center of this crime-fighting evolution is a Minnesota firm that offers police agencies a four-part package to galvanize communities:
• The Business Alert Network, which permits police to contact participating businesses with warnings of scams, bad check artists, and profiles of burglaries.
• The Residential Crime Alert, where anyone can register to receive police bulletins, including suspect descriptions and photos.
• A School Alert Network that would communicate with parents in event of Columbine-like emergencies.
• Fugitives, Missing Persons & Unsolved Crimes – a virtual bulletin board posted with descriptions and photos, including a way for citizens to send police information.