Hello, cellphone vigilantism!
As part of his State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg announced some new technology for New Yorkers.
This year, we'll begin a revolutionary innovation in crime-fighting: Equipping "911" call centers to receive digital images and videos New Yorkers send from cell phones and computers something no other city in the world is doing.
If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition you'll be able to transmit images to 911, or online to NYC.GOV. And we'll start extending the same technology to 311 to allow New Yorkers to step forward and document non-emergency quality of life concerns holding City agencies accountable for correcting them quickly and efficiently.
City Hall should totally start its own Flickr group - as should the NYPD! Sadly, the Mayor did not divulge the email address or number you will be able to send images or video to - maybe he do that in an extra special message via YouTube.
The mayor's "criminal justice coordinator" John Feinblatt told the Times, "This is absolutely brand new for law enforcement, and it’s absolutely new for a call center like 311, but by no means is it new technology. So what we’re going to do is take applications that already exist in the industry and adapt them to 911 and 311." Feinblatt and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly both pointed to the incident where Thao Nguyen took a cellphone picture of Dan Hoyt pleasuring himself on a subway, posted it on the Internet, all leading to Hoyt's arrest (this wasn't his first offense, either!). Others have used cellphones to try to nab wrongdoers as well. Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel tells the Post he thinks would be "no civil liberties objections" if the photographs are of "criminal behavior."
And New Yorkers would be able to log quality of life issues the same way to 311. How very reminiscent of Andrew Rasiej's "We Fix NYC" pothole tracking! But we don't recommend you email 311 every time when you see that poop on the street because that'll get old.