The Baltimore County police have launched a high-tech citizen “iWatch” program that features an online tip system monitored 24 hours a day that can receive text messages and offers crime alerts featuring video surveillance pictures, says the Baltimore Sun. “You can’t fully protect yourself or others unless you are informed,” said Police Chief James Johnson. Baltimore County has introduced digital license plate readers attached to police cars that will alert the officer inside when he’s just passed a car that might be stolen or registered to a criminal suspect. The Miami-Dade County, FL., police have a new flying surveillance drone built by a military contractor.
At a “Techno-Crimefighting” panel this month at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, John Jay Prof. Dennis Kenney gave a presentation on video surveillance with an official from New Scotland Yard in London. Kenney is skeptical about big investments in technology or seeing it as a substitute for good police work. Still, he said technological tools can be useful in the hands of skilled investigators.