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NYC 911 to Accept Cellphone Pics and Video 251

Posted by Zonk
from the looking-through-the-phone dept.
SpaceAdmiral writes "New York City is developing a plan to allow images to be sent to 911 emergency operators from cellphones. This will likely give emergency operators better information to pass along to responders. They're also planning on implementing a program of street-corner video cameras, as seen in the city of London. According to John A. Feinblatt, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's criminal justice coordinator: 'The more information that the police have and the more quickly that they get it, the more likely that they are going to fight a crime.'" How practical do you think it is to expand this sort of project to cities across the country? Moreover, is it worth the expense?
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NYC 911 to Accept Cellphone Pics and Video

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  • Camera Fun (Score:2, Funny)

    by McFortner (881162)
    I for one welcome our Dispatcher Overlords. Oh, wait, I'm a Dispatcher! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME SWINE! McF
  • by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:38PM (#17699098) Homepage
    I think sending pics to 911 is nice...

    They're also planning on implimenting a program of streetcorner video cameras, as seen in the city of London.

    ...but this scares the shit out of me, especially because it's buried there as some sort of "oh by the way, we're also doing this kewl thing, kthx".

    • by Uber Lieutenant (894875) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:15AM (#17699318)
      In complete agreement with you. 911 callers being able to send cell photos to responders is a great concept.

      The video cameras? Not a fun idea to entertain, as far as a citizens point of view would go.
      • by omeomi (675045)
        The video cameras? Not a fun idea to entertain, as far as a citizens point of view would go.

        Chicago has these on some street corners already. I'm surprised New York doesn't already have them.
        • by finiteSet (834891)

          Chicago has these on some street corners already.

          For curious readers, it is Chicago's Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting (CLEAR) [wikipedia.org] program. Wired had a really interesting article [wired.com] on it back in May of 2005.

          As much as police the whole camera surveillance thing creeps me out, I seem to recall that there were significant improvements in crime rates after the program began (causal or not I do not know). You can look at the Department's statistics for yourself: CPD Site [cityofchicago.org] (follow Reports & Statis

      • by Instine (963303)
        Whats the difference? I get monitored by mobile phone users, or government...

        For example, this guy shows numberplates and faces. He doesn't investigate further. He just spies from a distance. In this example, people are unlikely to get worked up into violence. But they may well get unfairly demonizing. And I can think of plenty other situation were it could get FAR worse..: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPX6Y7Xy3bg [youtube.com]

        I saw this the other day and thought about the blurring of the bigbrother/bigbrotherhoo
        • You make a good point. How many false alarms will 911 get with this feature? If I got a disposable cell phone that had a camera phone on it, then took a picture of my neighbor moving stuff around in his garage and I called it in as a robbery.
      • by ThosLives (686517) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @10:16AM (#17701694) Journal
        The video cameras? Not a fun idea to entertain, as far as a citizens point of view would go.

        You know, I don't understand why people get upset about cameras in public places. I am a logical citizen, and I don't think there is a fundamental issue with the concept that there is no such thing as "privacy" in a "public" place - such as a street corner.

        I see it this way: If it is possible for someone to stand at the corner and observe you, then what's the difference between that and having a camera there and a person in a room watching you? I suppose the only difference would be that you might know the person is there (unless the person is hiding) where you might not know the camera is there.

        If that's the case, simply require all the cameras to be painted bright orange so people cannot claim "I didn't know I was being observed."

        My personal assumption, when I'm in a public place - on the street, in my car, etc - is that I am being observed, so I behave appropriately for that assumption. Whenever I want to behave otherwise, I do so behind closed doors on private property.

        The only thing that would concern me is if there is further intrusion into the idea of private property, and there's enough concern there as it is.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Macthorpe (960048)
          I agree with you to the extent that I posted the same question in a different article.

          Get ready for a mass of people directing you to go read '1984' like it's some kind of prophecy of an inevitable future, and maybe a smattering of half-decent points relating to police/camera coverage and possible abuses of the system.

          As far as I'm concerned though, just because it's possible to abuse something, doesn't mean it's going to be abused. I think a comment I made to friend was "You can't stop giving gardeners a s
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by StikyPad (445176)
            As far as I'm concerned though, just because it's possible to abuse something, doesn't mean it's going to be abused. I think a comment I made to friend was "You can't stop giving gardeners a spade just because they might beat someone to death with it".

            You're wrong there, unfortunately. Very wrong. Someone will eventually abuse that shovel, because tools are power and power corrupts. Shovels, however, are not absolute power, and they're not distributed in such a way where one group of people has significa
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      I know...scares the shit outta me too. Setting up a little video survellience out there...leads to more and more and more. And while it may not be abused now, I've never seen a law or tool for law enforcement that hasn't been used for other things than it was intended.

      Total survellience has SO many possibilities for abuse in the future....

      I guess I just don't want to show up on anyone's map, especially the govt's maps unless something bad happens....and it is required.

      I often think about the Monty Python

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shawn(at)fsu (447153)
        I've never seen a law or tool for law enforcement that hasn't been used for other things than it was intended.
        Shocker that your comment gets modded +5 insightful....

        Isn't it safe to say that pretty much any technology/tool has been (mis)used for other things than it was intended. Don't we on /. say it's not the tool but how it's used? Wasn't that the collective argument used in defense of p2p and bit torrent? The amount of hypocrisy on this site never ceases to amaze me.
    • by dosboot (973832) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @01:08AM (#17699590)

      Someone explain to me why Slashdot has so many people who are afraid to death of cameras? A security camera system maintained by the police department is a *service* for our benefit. We *want* the police looking out for us on the streets. Before you argue 'big brother', '1984', etc. you should take note that public photography is a valuable right in the US (http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm). Why then should make the police's job harder by taking away that right from them?

      We don't take away that right from ordinary citizens even though they can abuse it too (if you want to be blunt about it, criminals can use surveillance cameras to lookout for police).
      • by alshithead (981606) * on Sunday January 21, 2007 @01:45AM (#17699742)
        As long as the guvmint stays out of my home or anywhere else I have a reasonable expectation of privacy, they can record all they want. I LIKE red light cameras. I LIKE the idea that someone mugging me after an ATM visit might get caught because there are cameras covering the street. Surveillance cameras, public and those used by businesses have become an integral part of getting bad people caught and just as importantly, convicted.
        • But will you like knowing that you're on camera several hundred times a day (as is supposedly true for Englishmen today), monitored not just by a bored policeman but by software designed to identify people and suspicious behavior (eg. this story [newscientist.com])? Considering the existing cameras with microphones [dailymail.co.uk], will you shiver when the machines call you by name and ask what you're doing? "Move along, citizen."

          If we're to be monitored, we should be pushing to make sure that we have access, ourselves, to the surveillance
      • by Martin Blank (154261) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @01:47AM (#17699758) Journal
        There's a significant difference between public photography and the state taking pictures. There are cases where there may be valid security reasons to do so, such as at state-owned buildings to catch thieves and vandals on record.

        It has been the history of this nation to provide certain barriers for police to help ensure that they remain as honest as possible. This is why there are requirements for warrants and Miranda warnings. It's not that we don't want evidence to not make it to court, but we want to be as sure as possible that the evidence was obtained without coercion or undue deception, and that it is done with the consent of the people involved in the case. This puts power in the hands of the people rather than the state.

        The presence of cameras can allow for intimidation or harassment through automated means (think just about how many traffic laws you break in a given week, including speeding, rapid lane changes, rolling stops, and similar minor offenses), even though they may be useful for solving more serious crimes. Make things too simple for the state, and the state gets lazy. This doesn't cover blackmail potential, or other abuse that can occur -- such as the museum camera that was used to peer into German Chancellor Angela Merkel's home. The kind of devices often mentioned as desired by police are PTZ (point-tilt-zoom) cameras, and depending on placement, may be quite capable of being aimed to peer into the home or yard of a private citizen. Even with oversight boards, who is going to be able to review ~720 hours of use per month, especially when it is over hundreds or even thousands of cameras?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by dosboot (973832)
          1) You don't need a warrant to look at another human being on the street. 2) We shouldn't be breaking the traffic laws anyways. The police don't make the law. It's their job to spot traffic violations and they are going to continue doing so regardless. 3) It isn't illegal to view into private places like a yard from a public place (unless there is an expectation of privacy) 4) It should be simple to program the cameras to block out windows dynamically with a PTZ system. In theory any police officer could
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by gowen (141411)
          (think just about how many traffic laws you break in a given week, including speeding, rapid lane changes, rolling stops, and similar minor offenses)
          That would be none. And if traffic cameras prevent people like you from driving like an inconsiderate twat, I'd really rather like more.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jamstar7 (694492)

        Someone explain to me why Slashdot has so many people who are afraid to death of cameras?

        We're not afraid of cameras. We just don't like what they represent, which is the death of privacy. What's that, you say? 'Why should I worry about privacy if I have nothing to hide?' We don't necessarily hate the technology, we just don't trust the people who will have access to the data collected by this technology. People who were not voted into office, that cannot be impeached for malfeasance, people that bel

      • We don't take away that right from ordinary citizens

        The police do not like citizens taking pictures of them and will take you down even if the law is on your side. Just ask these guys:

        http://www.nbc10.com/news/9574663/detail.html [nbc10.com]
        http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/artic le?AID=/20060629/NEWS01/106290121 [nashuatelegraph.com]
      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        Someone explain to me why Slashdot has so many people who are afraid to death of cameras?

        Sheesh, what a loaded question... I think it's because many vocal slashdotters are relatively young and still believe in absolutes when it comes to privacy concerns.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540)

        Someone explain to me why Slashdot has so many people who are afraid to death of cameras?

        Well, I can't talk for anyone else, but I'm just plain ugly - overweight and pasty-white. Now, I'm starving myself, lifting weights (I can already almost lift the mouse from the table !!!) and forcing myself to open the curtains for at least 1 minute each day while the Sun is up, so I hope I'll be an athlete in a few months and can attract girls like flies. But imagine if, just when I'm picking one up in a restauran

      • by smoker2 (750216) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @03:53PM (#17704186) Homepage Journal
        Just imagine for a moment that the US is still part of the British Empire. Well you guys are fed up with the way things are going and want to fight for your independence. Political means have failed, and your only recourse is to physically revolt, and resort to armed struggle. Do you still think having cameras controlled by the security forces, on every street corner is a good thing ?

        Now imagine Germany in the 1930s. Same situation, cameras controlled by security forces on every street corner. Only the security forces are the SS and Gestapo. Do you still think it's a good idea ?

        Just because you live in a favorable political climate at present doesn't mean it will always be that way. And by submitting to this overbearing surveillance, you are making the *real* bad guys* jobs easier.
        * Meaning the tyrant waiting in the wings.

        The Future:
        You are catalogued with RFID and DNA, you are monitored via your pc, your Tivo, and your phone, and you can't take a right turn on the way to work where you normally turn left, because that violates your normal routine and is therefore suspicious and worthy of investigation.
        Welcome to your brave new police state, where if you've got nothing to hide, you've got no life other than unquestioning servitude to the state.

        BTW, the police were not established to prevent crime. They were set up to catch offenders after a crime had taken place. By allowing them to *prevent* crime you are giving them a free pass to control everyone - innocent or otherwise. What's legal today, might not be tomorrow.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      ...but this scares the shit out of me, especially because it's buried there as some sort of "oh by the way, we're also doing this kewl thing, kthx".

      In this case, just the words "as seen in the city of London" should scare the crap out of all of us.

      OTOH, I'm currently posting from China...
  • Moo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chacham (981) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:40PM (#17699110) Homepage Journal
    Note that Indiana is doing it first:

    Actually, the state of Indiana has already begun a plan to revamp its 911 networks and allow citizens to transmit images wirelessly to emergency responders.

    There is a much better article on News.com.com [com.com]: New York to use cell phone photographers to help fight crime [com.com]

    The service is to be implemented by PowerPhone [powerphone.com] which has a Press Release here: Technology delivers cell phone photos to 9-1-1 operators [powerphone.com]
    • Re:Moo (Score:5, Informative)

      by ptbarnett (159784) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @01:27AM (#17699660)
      The service is to be implemented by PowerPhone which has a Press Release here: Technology delivers cell phone photos to 9-1-1 operators

      I just read the article, which says:

      PowerPhone's ILM system works like this: a citizen calls from his cell phone to report an emergency or suspicious activity-for example, a suspicious person dumping chemicals in a subway station. The caller dials 9-1-1 to report the sighting and says he can send a picture of the man to help identify him. The call handler sends a text message to the caller's cell phone requesting the photo. The caller then replies to this message with the photo attached. PowerPhone's ILM system stores the photo in an incident record for easy reference. The image can be forwarded to responders who are on their way to the scene.

      By following this process, the 9-1-1 center ensures that photos are linked with the appropriate records of the citizen's 9-1-1 call. Even more important, this process discourages citizens from randomly sending photos into the 9-1-1 center-an arrangement that can lead to pranks and other abuses of the system.

      Did they bother to check to test how many cell phones can actually do this? I just tried it with my Motorola Razr, and I don't have the ability to attach a photo to a reply.

  • I dunno.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FooAtWFU (699187) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:40PM (#17699112) Homepage
    Right now, I'd be somewhat skeptical of it, but it does seem like a reasonable sort of "future investment". And if there's any place that should be making it and could benefit, NYC is that place (with a huge city and tons of people with media-happy cell phones floating around). I don't think there will be any immediate returns, but... One of the things I guess is problematic is that you can't exactly call 911 and send them a video clip at the same time with today's phones - most seem to have them mutually exclusive.

    Anyway. I wonder what the cell phone company will charge you for sending a video clip to the 911 service. :P

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kalpaha (667921)

      One of the things I guess is problematic is that you can't exactly call 911 and send them a video clip at the same time with today's phones - most seem to have them mutually exclusive.

      In Finland, I think every operator already offers video calls, and probably most of the 3G phones at least have the functionality. I'd be surprised if e.g. Nokia was stripping the feature out of the phones in the US, I'd bet it was a limitation of the network (operators) if that's not available.

      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        I'd be surprised if e.g. Nokia was stripping the feature out of the phones in the US

        Actually, in quite a few offices, camera phones are not allowed since the owners don't want visitors to be able to easily take pictures of sensitive documents. So, if you consult and go out to clients' offices, you might need a phone without a camera - otherwise you might be asked to check it in with security all the time. The cell makers are just filling a market need by making phones without cameras as well as with the

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tverbeek (457094) *
      The 911 system in my area is having a hard enough time simply getting the right emergency responders on the line and to the scene. There's no way they're ready to deal with pictures and video.
  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday January 20, 2007 @11:44PM (#17699134)
    How practical do you think it is to expand this sort of project to cities across the country?

    Very. Chicago is, I understand, laying a massive fiber loop for just this purpose. I don't know how far advanced their scheme is though. It is interesting that cities around the country are cutting back on public services, and yet still have plenty of money to spend spying on us.

    Moreover, is it worth the expense?

    Nope.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      As far as the camera network goes, Chicago already has many of these cameras in place, but right now they are only in place in high-crime areas. Here [usatoday.com] is an image of what they look like, and they also have microphones on them and can record gunshot sounds. These cameras are very well liked from what I have read and there are plans to install more of them across the city, not just in high-crime areas.
  • Worth the expense to who? The taxpayers, or law enforcement?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by value_added (719364)
      Worth the expense to who? The taxpayers, or law enforcement?

      Depends on how you measure it, and what your perspective is.

      Last I checked, the taxpayer was paying for law enforcement (salaries, benefits, pensions, etc.). The taxpayer is also paying for the absence of or shortcomings in law enforcement (property crime, lower property values, social burdens, etc.). If the police need something, you pay for it. If they need something and don't get it, you still pay, but out of a different pocket.

      I'd like nothi
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:10AM (#17699280)
    One aspect of this that could be especially valuable is for the Emergency Medical Services side of 911. I'm a Firefighter/EMT, and responding to a call, the more information we have the better, and pictures/videos could definitely be useful. Often times we get dispatched for things like a hemorrhage or amputation, and its not clearly communicated to us responders what we are going to find - whether it is just someone that lost a fingertip, or if their whole arm is gone (which understandably affects what we'll bring with us to the scene as well as how we manage the whole call. My guess is this probably mostly a result of the people on scene (understandably) freaking out in an emergency and not being able to clearly communicate the severity/magnitude of an incident, so if they could send 911 operators a picture, that would help a lot.
    • Just curious...

      I don't know how you get your emergency calls right now, but do you already have computers directly connected to the emergency services systems to even have pictures or other useful information sent to you? You know, something other than an e-mail address?
  • by bluemonq (812827) * on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:10AM (#17699286)
    Considering how often we hear about people calling 911 for driving directions or other ridiculous reasons, I can't help but wonder when dispatchers will start getting stuff like tubgirl...
    • by Kesh (65890)
      I predict about two seconds after this goes live.

      Seriously, while it has potential to help, it's going to be flooded with crank photos. Not to mention I doubt some of the dispatchers really want to see what some folks are going to send them...
    • by zakezuke (229119)
      Considering how often we hear about people calling 911 for driving directions or other ridiculous reasons, I can't help but wonder when dispatchers will start getting stuff like tubgirl...

      The guidelines to call 911 are different from city to city.

      http://www.cresa911.org/911when.htm [cresa911.org]
      Call precedence from highest to lowest:

      * Threat to life
      * Threat to property/property damage
      * General Assistance

      If in doubt, call 9-1-1. Better

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bluemonq (812827) *
        I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I was taught at school to call 911 only in case of an emergency. That meant that someone is or was going to get seriously hurt (broken bone or worse), or there was someone around who was a threatening presence. Dispatch should never be your concierge. I notice that before that part of the excerpt you posted, it says the following: Call 9-1-1 anytime you have an EMERGENCY when police, fire or medical response is required immediately. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies
        • by zakezuke (229119)
          I don't know about you, but when I was a kid I was taught at school to call 911 only in case of an emergency. That meant that someone is or was going to get seriously hurt (broken bone or worse), or there was someone around who was a threatening presence. Dispatch should never be your concierge. I notice that before that part of the excerpt you posted, it says the following: Call 9-1-1 anytime you have an EMERGENCY when police, fire or medical response is required immediately. Examples of 9-1-1 emergencies
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        There should be more uniform guideline, for example larger cities tend to be more restrictive as to the use of 911, smaller towns tend to be more liberal.

        I went to college in a small town in PA. The police station only had a dispacher at the desk during certain hours. 9-1-1 connected you to the police dispatcher in the next town over -- there wasn't really a centralized 9-1-1 system. So you were told to call 9-1-1 in non-emergency situations (noise complaints, whatever) if the police didn't answer on

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:15AM (#17699316)
    mainly, because what if i can't talk on the phone eg home invasion and i'm hiding or i'm mute or something.
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      mainly, because what if i can't talk on the phone eg home invasion and i'm hiding or i'm mute or something.

      Not sure if pics would help, but they could be useful. BTW, voiceless 911 calls get a callback. If no one answers saying it was a mistake, an attempt is made to locate the phone and respond. Of course, a far better response to a home invasion would be the homeowned getting out his gun and preventing the assholes from invading another home. Ever. Sadly, it's far too difficult to acquire a gun leg

    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      Not helpful to your question, but cute anyway:

      The boss of a big company needed to call one of his employees about an urgent problem with one of the main computers.

      He dialed the employees home phone number and was greeted with a child's whispered on the first ring, "Hello?"

      Feeling put out at the inconvenience of having to talk to a youngster the boss asked, "Is your Daddy home?".

      "Yes.", whispered the small voice.

      May I talk with him?", the man asked.

      To the surprise of the boss, the small voice wh
  • by olivercromwell (654085) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:16AM (#17699324)
    Even wiht cell phone video and stills, the police cannot respond fast enough to prevent an unarmed person from becoming a victim, and a statistic. We should all have the unrestrained right to defend ourselves, and go out strapped. Just showing a potential attacker that you are carying on your belt is enough to make him melt away.
    • Right != ability (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SleepyHappyDoc (813919) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @12:28AM (#17699388)
      I wouldn't want to go out packing, for the simple fact that the weapon would more than likely be taken from me by the assailant. Sure, I could spend a lot of time and money learning how to use the gun, how to defend myself and the gun from having it taken away from me, etc, but I don't want to spend my whole life doing nothing but learning how to defend myself. And I sure as hell don't like the idea of a small mugging, where some thug punches me in the nose and steals my iPod, turning into a shooting, where some thug punches me in the nose, steals my iPod and my gun, and then shoots me with it. At least (although I'd be out an iPod and I might need my nose set) I would probably get to go home that night.
      • You might want to look at some of what Gary Kleck has written about the defensive uses of handguns. Personally, I feel much the same way you do, but when looked at from a societal perspective defensive gun use (and his definition of that is very specific) do more to preserve lives than take them.
      • This is a good start: Gary Kleck [pulpless.com]
      • Nothing about having the right to do something, means you have to do it.

        E.g., I think a woman should be able to have an abortion, even though I am not a woman and therefore cannot ever exercise that right. Just because it would seem on the surface not to be a particularly useful right to me, personally, doesn't change the fact that I think it ought to exist.

        Saying 'well, I wouldn't use it, therefore why care if I have the right to do it?' is both narrow-minded and dangerous.
      • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
        And I sure as hell don't like the idea of a small mugging, where some thug punches me in the nose and steals my iPod, turning into a shooting, where some thug punches me in the nose, steals my iPod and my gun, and then shoots me with it.

        If you carry a gun openly, this can be a problem. If you carry concealed in something like a shoulder holster, your scenario is less likely since the thief would have to know that you're carrying and, even if he did, get at the gun. Trigger locking mechanisms that sense

      • Re:Right != ability (Score:4, Informative)

        by sgtrock (191182) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @02:14AM (#17699882)
        There's a ten year old study [uchicago.edu] that says that just having other citizens carry concealed weapons improves your safety overall. I've never heard a rebuttal that held any water. So, even if you don't want to carry a weapon yourself, you do want to live in a state that allows it. :)
        • Re:Right != ability (Score:4, Informative)

          by b0s0z0ku (752509) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @02:32AM (#17699976)
          There's a ten year old study that says that just having other citizens carry concealed weapons improves your safety overall. I've never heard a rebuttal that held any water. So, even if you don't want to carry a weapon yourself, you do want to live in a state that allows it. :)

          Crime also went down in Kennesaw, GA (but increased in surrounding towns) in the decade following its passage of an ordinance that required each household in the town to own at least one servicable firearm. To those who claim that such an ordinance would be unfair by mandating the ownership of an object, it was purposely written to be full of exemptions - conscientious objectors, ex-convicts, etc were exempted. Nor has anyone actually been fined for not owning a weapon. But the law was designed to set an example to follow.

          -b.

    • Just showing a potential attacker that you are carying on your belt is enough to make him melt away.
      Is that your lousy pickup line?
    • by westlake (615356)
      We should all have the unrestrained right to defend ourselves, and go out strapped

      "Never give a sucker an even break."

      The pro has the initiative, the pro has experience. The pro takes the back shot before the rookie sees him coming.

    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Just showing a potential attacker that you are carying on your belt is enough to make him melt away.

      Actually, if I were going to openly carry, I'd carry some weapon that requires skill and training to use effectively, like a sword. Too much chance of a gun being taken away in an inattentive moment and used against me. Concealed carry OTOH...

      -b.

  • Street corner video cameras prety much everywhere in the UK from the smallest towns to the largest citys, We live under the eye of big brother over here
  • From the posting: They're also planning on implimenting a program of streetcorner video cameras,

    ... and a spell checker to provide correct spelling for Slashdot posts.

    • The sentence with the spelling error was not submitted. Presumably it was added by Zonk before approval.

      This makes me happy, 'cause normally I have to apologize for the errors in my submissions, but not today: Suck it, you whiners! Bow down before my flawless submission!
  • How soon before you start seeing this hardware on ebay? I don't know that Londoners (??) would be apt to steal such equipment, but I can absolutely see it happening in NYC.
    • I lived in New York for thirteen years, and I've been living in London for almost ten years now.

      If you've ever been to London you'd notice cameras are either 1) Positioned on poles, really, really high up - some as high as fifty feet. Or 2) low lying cameras are arranged in pairs so one includes the other in its field of vision.

      So you either can't steal them because they are too high up, or if in snatch range you'd be filmed stealing them. And keep in mind some are monitored by humans, so as soon as you s
  • Cell phones and 911 (Score:3, Informative)

    by p2ranger (606522) on Sunday January 21, 2007 @01:41AM (#17699726)
    I also am a fulltime FF/EMT. If there was one thing that cell phone users could do to help, it would be a law requiring callers to stay on the scene when they call in something. You would not believe the number of calls we get for a dead guy (who is really a drunk guy asleep against a building or a tired traveler sleeping in their car), smoke investigations which turn out to be smoke from a fire place, odor investigations which can not be found at all, car wrecks which can't be found. Many times we are sent on a wild goose chase because the information we got from the caller isn't enough for us to locate the complaint. Having the caller stick around to point out what they found or educate them on their stupid call in so they don't do it again would be great. I can see where it could be usefull for having pictures or video sent in. We have computers on our apparatuses that send us information from dispatch. Getting a picture of a reported sturcture fire where you can see flames coming out of the windows could aid in planning and requesting additional resources early. This is opposed to the call for a structure fire when its really just some dummy who left their beans on the stove too long and smoked up the whole apartment. One engine can take care of that instead of having an entire first alarm respond to take a smoking pot out of the building.
    • by Sigma 7 (266129)
      I also am a fulltime FF/EMT. If there was one thing that cell phone users could do to help, it would be a law requiring callers to stay on the scene when they call in something.


      One time, I witnessed billowing smoke coming from an apartment building. Staying on the scene would require me to dismount the bus I was travelling on - when the bus driver is not permitted to stop the bus in the middle of the Transitway.

  • One day while walking my dog I found what I thought were some explosives in a dump site. Took a picture and emailed it to the police along with a Google maps shot of exactly where it was. The local bomb squad chaps were around in jig time to pick me up to take them to the exact site incase they could not find it and blew the stuff up.

    They liked the idea of the photos because they could actually see the problem and they did not have to rely on a probably unreliable witness that might have wasted their tim

  • I'm not sure about anywhere else, but I know Baltimore, MD already has a system of "blue-light" cameras in place on some street corners (which would seem like a more relevant example than London, considering London isn't even in the United States).
  • I just don't get why this tradeoff is necessary.

    If police respond to too many bogus or non-priority complaints, they need to come up with a system or penalty that addresses that.

    If they need to prioritize severity of complaints being considered for immediate response, I don't see how a cell phone photo or street-corner camera is going to provide an accurate enough assessment to make that kind of critical determination.

    If there simply aren't enough police to cover a territory, then tell the taxpayers they ne

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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