NYPD Puts Android Smartphone App to Use Fighting Crime
April 14, 2013 4:48 PM
comment(s) - last by
App puts information from multiple database quickly at officer fingertips to question suspects, help victims
With so many instances of law enforcement using digital technology in a way that violates due process -- be it
internet log demands
smartphone data dumps
-- it's nice to see technology be applied in a more respectful way to fight crime.
I. Fighting Crime, One App at a Time
The New York City Police Department
(NYPD) has issued a new smartphone app to officers that offers a new twist to good old fashioned detective work. It taps into public databases -- gun registration records, traffic accident records, crime victim notes, and various
databases, to be precise -- to instantly determine if a person of interest owns a gun or has committed past crimes. It even can display parolee photos.
Best of all the app is location aware -- so if officers are in a specific neighborhood, all the nearby registered gun owners, at-large suspects known to frequent/live in the area, and parolees all pop up. The app also offers up a list of known cameras in the region to allow police to more quickly work with property owners to obtain video footage for use as evidence in criminal cases.
Officer Tom Donaldson
The New York Times
, "You can see that in this one 14-story building there are thousands and thousands of records. If I see that in the last month, there have been six arrests on the seventh floor for drug trafficking, maybe I want to hang out on the seventh floor for a while. I tell them, ‘I’m going to see your picture. They don’t realize we have this technology. They can’t tell me a lie because I know everything."
Officer Tom Donaldson, left, and Capt. Jerry O’Sullivan investigate an incident with their new app. [Image Source: The New York Times]
II. App Helps Cops Snag Suspect in Prostitution-Robbery Scheme
In one case Officer Donaldson and Capt. Jerry O’Sullivan questioned a woman whose car was idling outside a Harlem housing project. The smartphone quickly told the officers that the license the woman gave them was fake; there was no record of a person of that name. The app also told them that the car's license plate was linked to a prostitution and robbery scheme, in which the women enticed potential victims into a location where they would be robbed.
Cheers Capt. O'Sullivan, "Ordinarily, as a police officer, what would you do if you were out there late at night, in the cold and the rain, and somebody was being evasive with us? We wouldn’t have any answers. Here, we had a phone."
[Image Source: The New York Times]
The officers say the app is particularly useful in domestic violence cases, as it provides details about how many times officers have been summoned to a residence, which the officers can then confront the abuser with.
Google Inc. (
) would be pleased to know that the officers are using inexpensive Android smartphones for the trial deployment of the new app effort. So far 400 of the app-equipped Android touch devices -- which are unable to make phone calls -- have been deployed to officers.
Getting information on suspects is normally a slow process with old-fashioned car conenctions.
[Image Source: Flickr]
Currently, the city's 2,500 police cars have a built-in app that provides access to many of the same databases, but entry requires separate password logins for each effort, as officers are not in their car at all times. Further, the information is delivered more slowly and isn't location aware. The automated information system also saves the department resources, as officers frequently have to call back to dispatchers for information. Thus the crime-fighting app represents a huge leap forward for officers trying to assess dangerous situations.
New York Civil Liberties Union
executive director Donna Lieberman acknowledged that the app had the potential to do a lot of good commenting that it had "enormous promise to improve policing and public safety", while expressing some concerns that it could be perverted as "a vehicle to round up the usual suspects, to harass people."
The NYPD also recently unveiled more controversial efforts to
troll social networks, hunting for crime
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Why don't all police departments have this?!
4/15/2013 10:02:19 AM
Because it is profiling which is illegal.
What if the app told the race of the person? The ACLU would be all over it.
It isn't up to politicians or popular opinion to decide which rights are worth protecting. They all are, that' why they are in the constitution.
RE: Why don't all police departments have this?!
4/16/2013 5:25:16 PM
Well if anyone wants to be a real life batman I am sure this app is probably already leaked, considering it is on the least secure platform.
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
IRS Documents Citizens Have "No Privacy Expectation" With Email
April 11, 2013, 3:01 PM
U.S Gov't: "Give Us Your Data, It's For Security"; Google: "Buzz Off!"
April 5, 2013, 3:33 PM
FBI Orders Google to Give it Access to Users' Locked Android Phones
March 15, 2012, 3:30 PM
Don't Tase Me Bro: NYCLU Report Says NY Police Abuse Use of Tasers
October 21, 2011, 8:20 AM
NYPD Looks to Mine Social Networks for Info on Criminal Activity
August 11, 2011, 5:26 PM
Retiree Sues Apple For $7,500 for Wiping Honeymoon Photos From His iPhone
November 30, 2015, 10:23 AM
iPhone 7 May Pack 3-4 GB Memory, More Storage; 4-Inch Comeback is Rumored
November 20, 2015, 10:12 PM
OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 Will Receive Android Marshmallow in Q1 2016
November 16, 2015, 9:58 AM
Lenovo Whoa: Motorola Droid MAXX 2 and Turbo 2 Break Cover in Leaks
October 26, 2015, 3:12 PM
Leak: Apple Preps for First Real Android App Foray With New Apple Music App
October 24, 2015, 1:59 PM
Pepsi Smartphone? Empty Calories Coming Soon to the Midrange
October 12, 2015, 11:41 PM
Most Popular Articles
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information