YOUR mission – is crowdsourcing a successful model in the fight against crime?
Use of the (Internet) public increasingly seems like a viable way to fight crime. Keepers of the law can’t be everywhere and large investigations cannot always be carried out, especially in the case of minor offences. In the meantime, appeals by the German police on Facebook, or the Seattle based Twitter search for stolen vehicles (@getyourcarback) just about symbolize a guarded request to fulfill civic duties.
However, swarm intelligence revealed its full potential in the case of the 57-year-old Betty Wheeler from Virginia , who was fatally injured after being hit by a car. Members of Jalopnik, a weblog covering cars were able to identify the car type on the basis of an only 30-centimeter long car part that had fallen off during the accident. This information seems to have furthered police investigations with the result that he hit and run driver could be seized. A successful search that has become popular. The search for hit and run drivers continues at Jalopnik.
Small time criminals in the Greater London Area better be prepared. In cooperation with the London Metropolitan Police Force, hobby detectives and tradespeople stricken by petty crimes have been given the ultimate self-help tool: Facewatch. This platform allows members to post pictures and images from surveillance cameras that could help clear up crimes. The community and the police can view a database with this information likewise. The deterrent effect of the Facewatch panopticon might be effective, but it is absolutely essential that the data protection and data security aspects involved in this type of public search be questioned.
Pic by flickr User voteprime