Here are five ways that you, or law enforcement agents, can use mobile phones to fight crime:
Crime reporting: Mobile phones allow citizens to contact the police immediately and report crimes as they are happening. This can give law enforcement agents more accurate information and the ability to respond to criminal activities faster.
Evidence gathering: Since most mobile phones are equipped with cameras, bystanders can take photos or video of crime scenes and criminals. This evidence can be passed on to police or social media almost instantly, giving officers and the public the ability to identify criminals faster.
Evidence tracking: For the same reason, a mobile phone could be evidence in a crime. If a person’s mobile phone is stolen, tracking technology could expose the perpetrator. In addition, new smartphone technology, such as kill switches, can reduce the incentive to steal mobile phones in the first place.
Suspect tracking: Somewhat controversially, law enforcement agents can track a person’s movements using his or her smartphone. While this is frightening for privacy advocates, it can be essential to tracking known criminals, especially in kidnapping scenarios. Knowing exactly where a mobile phone is at a certain point in time can also help law enforcement agency recreate a person’s movements after the fact.
Officer policing: And, to the chagrin of many an officer trying to get away with murder, mobile phones can provide evidence of impropriety on the part of law enforcement personnel. Mobile phone video, from Eric Garner’s death to teenagers at a pool party, has been used to hold police officers accountable, and has hastened the spread of body cameras worn by officers.
Smartphones, used by citizens or police, can help reduce crime committed by citizens and police, given that all parties use them responsibly.