|Here’s one that not only costs contributors absolutely nothing, but helps expand law enforcement’s efforts to combat one of the worst and most difficult crimes out there: human trafficking. Now, a stay in a hotel room could lead to a case resolution. Called TraffickCam, this app gives travelers the opportunity to contribute to the national database of hotel room settings—which as you all know are often used as backdrops for photographing child pornography. The app uploads smartphone photos to a hotel room database. The database is used to link the backgrounds of intercepted and confiscated photographs to hotels rooms used by traffickers. According to Exchange Initiative, which says on its website that donations were used to fund the app’s development, different apps are available iPhone and Android users.
There’s a bill filed by a California legislator in the U.S. Congress that could provide a big boost for investigative efforts: HB 4886, “Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act of 2016." Here’s the lowdown: This bill, if passed, would go a long way towards eliminating the use of burner phones by criminal elements. Purchasers would be required to show verifiable identification when acquiring one of these phones and sellers would be held to a higher level of responsibility. It’s aimed mostly at terrorists, but would also help close the communications gaps created by drug dealers, human trafficking and fugitives from justice. This legislation deserves law enforcement’s support.
Lots of agencies are going to apps for reporting crimes. Many of those apps are aimed at specific crimes, but some are more general. Metro Detroit works with the Nextdoor app, which links neighborhoods and keeps them abreast of issues in their own backyards. Residents report using the app makes them feel better informed and safer. Commuters are going to the Waze app to avoid high-traffic areas, which helps officers working accidents. There’s nothing worse than working a big pile-up on a major thoroughfare at rush hour. This helps relieve the resulting traffic congestion.
In Bend, Oregon, police are working with a crime reporting app that allows citizens to use their smart phones to notify LE agencies of crimes and allow faster responses. But beware these apps. There’s a downside to them, too, as the St. Louis police chief recently discovered. After their new app came online, he tweeted that the department had made it’s a first arrest using the app by taking a panhandler into custody. Seems like a pretty reasonable tweet to me. We’ve all picked up panhandlers and not all of them are harmless homeless types. The chief’s innocent tweet immediately riled up the ACLU, which took offense at police arresting panhandlers and likened it to penalizing the homeless. According to one report the ACLU says it’s going to ascertain that police use the app correctly. I am certain the agency will be eternally grateful for their support.
Use technology wisely my friends.
Officer© August 2016
Source: TraffickCam Articles