camera phones, e-tips

NYPD Enlists Help of Web, Good Samaritans

October 20, 2008 02:33 PM
by Emily Coakley
The New York Police Department is accepting photo and video tips from citizens on a Web site called Crime Stoppers, as police around the country embrace the Internet and text messaging.

Fighting Crime Online

The New York Post reports that the NYPD has begun accepting pictures and videos on its Web site,

Last month the Police Department started receiving text messages and cell phone pictures. According to the Post, the department has gotten 13 texts, a video clip and four photos—and it’s gotten some results.

“One cellphone picture led to an arrest of a hit-and-run who clipped a bicyclist near the Brooklyn Navy Yards on Sept. 10. A quick-thinking eyewitness had snapped a shot of the fleeing driver’s license plate and forwarded it to the NYPD,” the paper said.

In 2004, the Associated Press reported two instances of camera phones helping catch criminals. In one, a New Jersey teen took pictures of a man who was trying to lure him into a car. In Georgia, a woman shot a picture of a man exposing himself to her, which helped the police find him.
Other groups are still working to accept videos and photos. An organization in South Carolina, for example, accepts text messages, but not camera phone pictures or videos. “We are not satisfied yet that we can yet receive useful information in these ways which does not reveal your identity or compromise the anonymity of the Crime Stoppers program,” the site says.

Related Topics: Texting tips; teen gets break in mom’s murder case

Crime Stoppers in Canada earlier this year began accepting text message tips, according to The Star.

San Diego County’s Crime Stoppers and Crime Stoppers of the Puget Sound also began accepting email and text message tips in April, reported the Union-Tribune and Seattle Post-Intelligencer, respectively.

In the U.K., a Web site helped a teen find his mother’s killer. Police were questioning two men based on tips the Web site received, according to findingDulcinea.

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