The New York City Police Department is pretty much tops in the world. And policing a city of 8 million is surely a daunting task. But technological advances in today’s world also have helped advance crime fighting in the Big Apple by leaps and bounds.
The newest high-tech instrument in the police arsenal was the issuance of a smart phone to 400 of the finest. A quick review of a typical patrol at a Harlem housing project will blow your mind. Here’s the information the phone revealed with just a couple of taps: 1) the name of every building resident with an open warrant; 2) arrest records or previous police summons; 3) every apartment with a prior domestic incident report; 4) all units with orders of protection against them; 5) registered gun owners in the building; and 6) arrest photographs of every parolee (also the location of every video camera in the area focused on the building).
Yes, in a single 14-story apartment building there were thousands and thousands of immediately available, up-to-date, pertinent records.
Further, for the first time now, officers can look up a person’s criminal history and verify their identity by accessing computerized arrest files, police photographs and motor vehicle databases. Also, the police can now tell if a person has ever been a passenger in a motor vehicle accident or the victim of a crime. In domestic violence cases, the smart phone will see how many times police have been to the residence and the details.
Another recent typical case had the patrol spot an idling car parked on a sidewalk. The woman in the driver’s seat had no ID but claimed to have a driver’s license and gave a name and a date of birth — both were bogus. It turned out that the registered owner was wanted by the police for robbery. The arrests were easy. Looks like New York City, despite its size and incredible complexity, is bowing to the wonder world of electronics we live in today. I suspect were I to contemplate a life of crime or illegality I would seek a different location for my nefarious schemes.