U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

App Allows Citizens To Alert Law Enforcement and Each Other to Trouble

NCJ Number
248740
Author(s)
Michele Coppola
Date Published
April 2015
Length
4 pages
Annotation
This article profiles the features of a free app that enables citizens to record crime or other emergencies and automatically upload videos to law enforcement agencies that are participants in the network.
Abstract
This app assists officers in responding to the incident captured in a video, enabling them to assess the seriousness of the situation before arriving at the scene. In addition, this ICE BlackBox app, which was developed in partnership with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), can be used by members of neighborhood watch groups or anyone else to alert law enforcement agencies to trouble that involves officers or fellow citizens. Audio/video information recorded and sent through the app is automatically uploaded to a secure cloud-based server, and it cannot be deleted. Using GPS, the app can show the location of the person reporting an incident. With the click of a button, the app will dial 911. Users can choose whether to share the information with other community members, law enforcement, or a list of personal contacts. Testing has found that the app empowers neighborhood watch groups to engage in regular communication with local police about threats and emergencies occurring in neighborhoods. Although some law enforcement leaders initially feared abuse of this app, their view after testing it is that this will become a primary means for the public to report crimes to police and other first responders. It increases law enforcement’s ability to respond promptly and appropriately to various types of emergencies and provides the public with an improved tool for obtaining prompt help in an emergency.
Date Published: April 1, 2015