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Letting the Crowd Help Solve the Crime

April 17th, 2013

In the aftermath of the horrible Boston Marathon bombing, my mind was wandering — thinking of ways that I might be able to help. In fact, I think a lot of people feel this way after such intense public tragedies. Then, when the police began asking people to submit the photos and videos they may have taken of the area around the bombing that day, I had a thought:

Why isn’t there an app that can help the crowd submit their photos and recreate the events leading up to a crime?

All digital photos are time-stamped, and many — especially those taken with smartphones — are also stamped with the geo-location where they were taken. After a crime takes place, these photos could be quickly submitted from many people’s phones, fed into a central database, and be automatically sorted and re-presented to the investigators on a sort-of visual timeline. It would make both the contribution of and the analysis of these invaluable crime-scene documents much easier. People could easily see where holes existed in surveillance and flip through their photos for relevant images. Any public event could be recreated this way.

boston marathon bomb app


Recent news reports are indicating that some surveillance footage and possibly some crowd-contributed photos are already leading authorities towards certain suspects in this case. I can only imagine how much more quickly we might have responded if the whole process was simplified.

In fact, if any of you out there are ace Android or iOS developers and want to help me build this thing, please let me know.



Design, Digital, Ideas

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