Cell phones have made our lives easier, giving us the Internet at our fingertips no matter where we go. With all the ways cell phones help us in our daily lives, it's no wonder they can help us stop crimes as well.
Here are five ways that you, or law enforcement, can use cell phones to fight crime:
- Crime Reporting: Cell phones allow citizens to contact the police immediately and report crimes as they are happening. This can give law enforcement more accurate information and the ability to respond to criminal activity faster.
- Evidence Gathering: Since most cell 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 general public the ability to identify criminals faster.
- Evidence Tracking: By the same token, a cell phone could be evidence in a crime. If a person's cell phone is stolen, tracking technology could lead to the perpetrator. And new smartphone technology, such as kill switches, can reduce the incentive to steal cell phones in the first place.
- Suspect Tracking: Somewhat controversially, law enforcement can track a person's movements using his or her cell phone. While this is frightening for privacy advocates, it can be essential to tracking known criminals, especially in kidnapping scenarios. Knowing exactly where a cell phone is at a certain point in time can also help law enforcement recreate a person's movements after the fact.
- Officer Policing: And, to the chagrin of many an officer trying to get away with murder, cell phones can provide evidence of impropriety on the part of law enforcement. Cell 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.
Cell phones, used by citizens or police, can help reduce crime committed by citizens and police, given that all parties use them responsibly.
- Should You Report a Crime Anonymously? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Police Have Access to Your Facebook Photos (FindLaw Blotter)
- Do You Have The Right to Record The Police? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Real-Time Cell Phone Tracking Needs a Warrant: Fla. Supreme Court (FindLaw's Technologist)