The New York Police Department yesterday started encouraging citizens to capture crimes in progress on their cellphones and send the videos to the police, the New York Times reports. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the program in the department's Real Time Crime Center, where banks of computer monitors flash data and images from various locations.
When a witness calls 911, the dispatcher takes the details of the crime and assigns a special code to the report if the caller says there are photographs or video that might help solve it. A detective then calls the tipster with instructions on how to send the visual data into a department computer. The image could be a unique tattoo on the forearm of a suspected criminal in a robbery, or a shot of a license plate of a car fleeing a hit-and-run accident, Bloomberg said. “We are also working to enable the Real Time Crime Center to send photos out to all patrol cars in the area of a crime,” he said. “We hope to have that up and running next year.”