We all know that technology has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades, to the point where it is strange to meet a person who does not have a cell phone. In my purse, on a daily basis, I have my cell phone, digital camera, and iPod. If I’m traveling somewhere, even for just one night, I also have my laptop and all of my necessary chargers for everything. In this day and age, most people I know carry similar items with them regularly. And we might be just the people you need when a crime occurs! According to an article in The Oregonian, “technology may be on the verge of putting a dent in hit-and-run driving, police say. Developments such as digital cameras, cell phones, and websites could make it harder to hit someone’s car and irresponsibly wander off.”
The Oregon State Police report that they have received almost twice the number of calls from cell phones in 2006 than they received in 2000, which they attribute to the fact that most people started carrying cell phones during that time. And it’s not just cell phones that are being used to report crimes. The article mentions the website SwiftReport.net, where people can write about accidents they witnessed and provide details, including license plate numbers. Another suggestion is the idea of being able to send information to 9-1-1 call centers via text messages, which could appeal to younger people who rely more on texting than calling. I think that this could also make license plate reporting more accurate, since all the person has to do is type in the plate number instead of trying to remember it until someone answers the phone. Also, digital cameras and camera phones can be used to photograph people fleeing the scene and those images can be handed over to police as evidence and leads. Just to ensure safety, the article does express that police do not want people taking pictures while driving.
By having all of these items at our fingertips, perhaps we can all help police in our neighborhoods and communities…and maybe all of those fun “toys” aren’t just for fun after all!