Police Blotter On Demand? Comcast Helps Catch Bank Robbers Thanks To Bored People

Comcast has issued a press release claiming that they’re helping to solve crimes with something called “Police Blotter On Demand” a trial program launched in the Philadelphia area.

The program shows suveillance video of recent crimes as well as video profiles of bank robbers and missing persons from the Philadelphia Police Department’s “Most Wanted” list.

“This Comcast offering gives us a new and effective way to take advantage of technology to reach the public,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jody Weis. “Police Blotter allows the public to study the surveillance photos and learn important details about the criminals and crimes. We believe the ability to pause and rewind for closer review could help viewers make important connections and associations they might otherwise miss.”

Well, that’s weird, but cool.

FBI Harnesses Power of on Demand From Comcast to Track Criminals, Find Missing Persons, Make Communities Safer (Press Release)


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  1. asherchang2 says:

    That’s a really cool utilization of crowd-sourcing, but do we really want to call on average people to do this stuff for the police? We might end up with a lot of mistaken viewers calling the police on random innocent people who they’re sure that they’ve seen on TV, or worse, these mistaken viewers might try to perform citizens’ arrests…

  2. XTC46 says:

    @asherchang2: This kind of stuff happens anyway. Police already have to dig through thousands of tips (mostly false) when things go on the news or shows like Americas most wanted. I think its worth the risk for violent criminals (rapist, murderers, kidnappers) and not for white collar crimes, it should be ok.

  3. lalahsghost says:

    One step closer to an Orwellian future.

  4. ShadowFalls says:

    I thought they have something like this already, it is called C-Span…

    All jokes now aside, it seems like a useful thing, you can get way more info than news and whatnot, and unlike America’s Most Wanted type shows, you get information about something that happened locally.

  5. catskyfire says:

    Closer to an Orwellian future? Have you actually read 1984, or Yevgeni Zemyatin’s “We” (where Orwell admitted he had some of the ideas.)

    This is no different than putting posters in post offices when people actually used to go to post offices. Or putting a picture on a newscast in hopes someone gets it.

    Now, when they stick people’s heads in cages with rats, THEN we’ll talk Orwell.

  6. Rob says:

    I would say its more like Fahrenheit-451.

    (You know, he’s running to the river and they tell all the homeowners to look outside and spot the criminal)

  7. dirtymoney says:

    What? No JohnTV?

  8. shoegazer says:

    If you really want to see a vision of Orwell in action, come to Central London.

  9. BigNutty says:

    I think it might be a good idea. We will have to wait and see how successful it turns out to be.

    I really hate people that go inside a convenience store and blow away the minimum wage clerk or a punk that blows away a kid because he is in the wrong neighborhood.

    I believe the government else has no business spying on us and invading our privacy, but I would be willing to give up my privacy on the streets if this works.

  10. There was a lady actor who was on “America’s Most Wanted” as a fire bug, and she was CONSTANTLY being reported to police as the criminal. I think she carries around like a certified letter from the studios in case she gets hauled in. Apparently it happens to a few of the actors on those shows.

  11. loueloui says:

    I can see it now ‘…stop…detain…arrest…’

  12. @loueloui: As if there weren’t ENOUGH buttons on my remote. Three more.

  13. NefariousNewt says:

    @Rob: I’m thinking more this will end up being more like “The Running Man”. The problem with this is not so much the surveillance (that takes place anyway, whether you’re aware of it or not), but putting the information in the hands of ordinary citizens and hoping it doesn’t explode into rampant false positives and vigilantism. Most surveillance video is not all that good and even experts have a hard time discerning features in grainy videos. It will probably have some early successes but then will come the case of mistaken identity leading to an innocent person’s conviction/death, and the outcry will be massive.

  14. elf6c says:

    250 channels and you watch that?

  15. synergy says:

    Nope nope nope. I think we’re heading more towards “Soylent Green”/_Make Room! Make Room!_. Yay!