Plans announced at the weekend could see New Yorkers collecting evidence for police and city services using their mobile phones.
Residents would be encouraged to use cameraphones to take pictures of criminals, damage or other problems and forward them to the city's authorities.
"If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition, you will be able to transmit images to 911 or online to nyc.gov, " New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his State of the City address.
The idea came after a case last year in which a woman riding the subway used her phone to take a picture of a flasher exposing himself. She then posted it on the internet and the man was arrested after being identified.
"Information is the bedrock of good law enforcement," John A. Feinblatt, the mayor's criminal justice coordinator, told Newsday.
"The more information that the police have, and the more quickly that they get it, the more likely they are going to fight a crime."
Once transmitted to 911 controllers, the pictures or video can be distributed to local police or other emergency services. No estimate was given of the cost for the plan.
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