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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Idea to share: Crowdsourced police app

Walking downtown Tallinn, being hit by Latvian rickshaws driving Finnish tourists on sidewalks, one starts to ponder – couldn’t we do something about it? If it’s too little for real police, could we have some citizen police system to help us feel safer on the streets of the hometown?

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There is rarely a policeman nearby, so couldn’t I just snap a picture of the vandal and send it to the police? Maybe post it on their wall somewhere? Hashtag something?

Becomes too complicated in the 21st century – I need an app for that. The place I could post pictures like this:


The sign says only regular bikes can be on the other side of it. It also says there is video surveillance, but clearly, no-one watching cares.


(Yes, it’s a red light there.)

So it would be a very simple camera/social network kind of app which would allow me to post pictures. Ideally, it could develop into AI robot also sending the small fines too. If any of the bikes, for example, would have a licence plate it should be enough for a traffic violation.

And it’s not just the rickshaws, there are always drivers going 150 km/h on the main roads here (the limit is usually 90 km/h), there are cars parked where they should not be. Like this:


Yes, there is a sidewalk between the post and the bus.

Could towns pay for this?

Crowdsourced police information would be like speed cameras on the roads, but with actual impact and very little cost. I am sure many towns would be happy to pick up the bill for developing the app and market it to their citizens as the positive outcome could be tremendous.

Finnish Rakettitiede tried something like this a few years ago when they created lahivinkki.com on top of its Grafetee platform, but this failed to get overwhelming thumbs up from the administrative network of Finnish police force.

With crowdsourcing the police work surely there is also a negative side – many will fear of some sort of 1984. Yes, some lawbreakers might not like to see you filming them, but it’s your choice, you join the citizen police force or not. I will, most definitely. For example crossing this tired sidewalk, is surely dangerous around the bus parked across it.


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