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Posting evidence of crimes on line

A "CrimeTube" site, allowing users to upload 'evidence' of crimes they see.
  (+5, -9)
(+5, -9)
  [vote for,

I see "crimes" every day, mainly when driving to work - and as I increasingly become a cantankerous old man its starting to annoy and worry me. I probably saw in the region of 30 minor to medium traffic offenses today in 20 minutes of driving. I havent seen a police car on the roads near me in years and some of the offenses are often dangerous. Traffic accidents are common, and people are injured and killed.

I have hopefully assumed that I am not alone in this world, and that other also have cameras, videophones etc and eyes and a brain - all potentially valuable recording devices. Evidence in court could take the form of all of them.

I realise Joe Public are not formal evidence gatherers which is where my idea falls down as a forensic resource - but - there have been attempts to convict people of crimes they willingly post on line - people driving too fast, kids posting picures of themselves with guns etc.

My Crime website would be more formal than youtube. I would expect it to be moderated and structured. If you have a recording - for example - of somebody performing a dangerous driving offense (or what you believe to be an offense) then you need to provide context, and supporting information. It may never be used - and of course there is a simple voyeuristic side to all this - but its there should any law enforcement decide to view it. It may form a footnote in a case somewhere. If 3 people post the same thing, with concurring information then its essentially becoming an eye witness resource? I would consider that law enforcement would be able to request more information if they spotted something of interest - information wouldnt be released to the general public.

Am I essentially proposing "Big Brother" in its Orwellian sense? Would this be the worst idea ever? I'm surprised it hasnt already been done. Would it work as a simple 'name and shame'? Or simply for people to watch. TV already does this - 'Cops' for example, and the countless Police Action type programmes

(I'm in the UK by the way, and specifically interested in a UK perspective).

dja, Mar 17 2009

I have nothing better to do with my life.... http://www.betterdrivingplease.com/
....but spy on you and complain about yours. [eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 17 2009]

300kph + http://www.youtube....watch?v=WShY1ObPvhQ
[knowtion, Mar 18 2009]


       So the moment you started filming from the driver's seat them someone would start filming you!
gnomethang, Mar 17 2009

       i'm not suggesting drivers do the filming - passengers, or dash mounted phones/.cams only
dja, Mar 17 2009

       I think if you limited this to traffic offences, it wouldn't qualify as Orwellian (we're already used to speed cameras, bus-lane cameras, congestion-charge cameras and the like) - what it sounds like you are proposing is to add the ability for members of the public to perform their own traffic surveillance - or at least that's part 1 - which doesn't seem problematic at all - we have the technology, more or less - and as long as people are willing to spend their time "doing their public duty"/"sticking their noses in" (delete where appropriate) then it's cheaper than traditional roadside cameras.   

       Part 2 is to have the police *can* actually use the collected information to make prosecutions. And that's where it gets tricky - in order for the evidence to be of good enough quality to secure a conviction, it should meet certain criteria - for example, it should be obvious and verifiable that it's not been tampered with, it must show the correct date, time and location, you'd need to show that some offence had been committed, which is particularly tricky when the only context you are limited to is what is recordable by a camera/video.   

       Part 3 is where an offence is reported - either the police will self-report (?) when they see something going on directly, but I think if evidence is brought to them, then somebody has to actually go through the process of reporting a crime. I doubt the police would want to trigger automatic offence reporting based on photo submissions from the public.   

       I think it's these practicalities that would be the hardest to organise, fund and set up.
zen_tom, Mar 17 2009

       //I'm in the UK by the way, and specifically interested in a UK perspective//

Well my experience is that the police are far more interested in doing random vehicle checks than dealing with actual, real crime. So they should love this.
DrBob, Mar 17 2009

       Essentially you take the british cctv-culture to a new level by adding mobile cctv to cars. The big step though is the crowd-sourcing of the reviewing process. It would certainly cut down on traffic offenses, because you could do the snitching from the anonymity of your computer, ratting out a 'crime' commited a hundred miles away, so the number of reports would increase, thus the probability of getting caught would increase, and the offenses would decrease.   

       Orwellian? not really, but near enough for a [-]
loonquawl, Mar 17 2009

       [link] as you can see there are already several sites like these. To make them part of legislated law enforcement rather smacks of the Stasi so [-]. Our country used to stand for 'innocent until proven guilty', its a shame that has now become 'criminalise the motorist'.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 17 2009

       This idea reminds me of a Sci Fi short story I read many years ago, (Bradbury maybe) about geriatric individuals being paid to wear recording glasses. Sorry, I can't find a link to the story.   

       It is always better to do something positive about crime, rather than just claim that you're powerless to stop it. However the idea is probably not all that original.   

       Probably you would make your roads safer by taking the worst drivers off the road - in that sense it sounds more like "zero tolerance" than 1984.
Aristotle, Mar 17 2009

       [dja] How does the moderation work? Can anyone view anyone else's uploaded footage?   

       If I'm to be recorded in public, I'd rather the footage went to a public database than a secret one.
Srimech, Mar 17 2009

       //about geriatric individuals being paid to wear recording glasses// I thought I'd read that somewhere here - I think Bradbury would have enjoyed the 'bakery.
zen_tom, Mar 17 2009

       I've been toying with this same idea, but from the perspective of capturing not just the offense, but the license plate as well. Being able to search by license might interest insurance companies.   

       I've decided I'm not that uptight (yet).
phoenix, Mar 17 2009

       // [link] as you can see there are already several sites like these. To make them part of legislated law enforcement rather smacks of the Stasi so [-]. Our country used to stand for 'innocent until proven guilty', its a shame that has now become 'criminalise the motorist'.//   

       Um, it's criminalizing the motorist who HAS been proven guilty. That does not violate any principles of any countries I know of.   

       As for practical issues, just issue standard, official cameras that stream data directly to your account with timestamps, etc. Later, in the privacy of your home, you can sift through and report crimes that you see in your footage, but you can't edit it, and a copy is already on file in a secure server for some amount of time.   

       That seems like it should solve all problems mentioned.
Smurfsahoy, Mar 17 2009

       //If I'm to be recorded in public, I'd rather the footage went to a public database than a secret one.//   

       I think this is the essential point. It makes all the difference between, on the one hand, an Orwellian nightmare and, on the other hand, people just having to take grown-up responsibility for stuff they do in public.
pertinax, Mar 18 2009

       This might turn into a snitching positive feedback loop. If someone catches me doing something illegal, as revenge/catharsis I'll then try and catch other people doing something illegal. People may then become more insular/withdrawn/suspicious.   

       I've been told that cats play a game similar to this: a cat will watch as many other cats as possible without itself being noticed.
xaviergisz, Mar 18 2009

       The betterdrivingplease.com site does the reporting by license plate already and is public.   

       What makes me uneasy about this site is that its manifesto is very reactionary and was obviously written by quite an angry person.
Aristotle, Mar 18 2009

       Regarding the privacy issue- when its something you do in your own home that doesn't hurt anyone, you are entitled to privacy. But driving is something you do in public that could easily kill someone if you aren't being careful. Police monitoring better justified in this context.
Bad Jim, Mar 19 2009


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