Blown To Bits

Little-Brotherism Goes Mainstream

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

The New York City police department has established a Real Time Crime Center, to which citizens are encouraged to send cell phone photos of crimes. You can also text “CRIMES” with your tips. Mayor Bloomberg spoke enthusiastically about the new unit, but urged common sense. “If some big hulking guy is coming at you with a hatchet,” he said, “I would suggest you don‚Äôt take out your camera and try to take a picture.”

Doubtless this will help solve some crimes, as it perhaps did in the case of Jeffrey Berman reported in Blown to Bits. Will it have any unforeseen consequences? How will we feel about vigilante citizen jaywalking enforcers who snap pictures of us crossing the street at the wrong place and build up digital police files of our persistent lawlessness?

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