Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cell Phones Can Be Used as Crime Deterrent

A pair of Pittsburghers have come up with a way use a cell phone to help people stay safe in potentially threatening social situations. Cell phone users who sign up for the free My Mobile Witness service can take a picture, upload it to a secure server and then, if anything ever happens to them, police will have access to the photo. Former FBI agent and My Mobile Witness consultant Ron Knight says this should be seen as a deterrent to crime not a substitute to 911 or cautious behavior. Among the scenarios imagined by the developers… A young lady who goes to a bar with her friends and decides to leave with a young man to get a bite to eat. She can take his picture using her cell phone, upload it to the server and if the date starts to become dangerous she can tell the young man that she has sent his picture to the site, no one can delete it and police have access to it, so you are no longer anonymous. Knight says a simple statement like that will stop many crimes in their tracks. Knight says he thinks people are so used to taking and sending pictures in social situations that they will not feel awkward using the service. The developers say it can also be used if you find yourself alone and you think someone is following you. Knight says the service is not just for bars or dark alleys. He says hikers have told him they will take pictures of trail heads before they leave for the day and realtors have started to use the service when meeting clients in empty houses. He says it is also a good idea when you let someone take the car you are trying to sell for a test drive. The pictures, or text, sent to the sight are erased after 60 days. The service is free but users must sign up at mymobilrwitness.com

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