Singapore crowdsources crime evidence via app

Police tap cameras in citizens’ smartphones.

Singapore Police Force (SPF) has a new mobile service for citizens to submit evidence directly to officers, Minister of Home Affairs K Shanmugam announced. With the new i-Witness service, citizens can submit photos, text and videos of evidence to alert officers to new crimes or assist with ongoing investigations. They can submit up to two attachments in each report, and must tag where and when they were captured. They can submit their name and contact details or choose to remain anonymous. The service allows police to collect potentially new evidence via cameras in citizens’ smartphones. “If we can reach out effectively, [it] will provide SPF with millions of sensors, millions of pairs of eyes, which will help us protect our people better, in our communities,” Minister Shanmugam said. i-Witness is a new feature within SPF’s existing Police@SG app. The app, launched in 2011, allows citizens to call police in an emergency. It also has a map with locations of crime reports and appeals for evidence. Citizens can also apply for police permits, check their driving licence status, and report accidents and lost items on the app. SPF will launch a new emergency SMS service, 71999. Citizens can use this to ask for help in crises where it is not safe to make calls, like if they are caught in a terrorist attack. The Police@SG app is available for download for Apple and Android devices.