I ran across an interesting article about the Bengarulu Police Department in India deciding to use Periscope. That part of the story was not noteworthy. In fact, many departments are using Periscope to broadcast press conferences and various community events. The Dallas Police Department recently used Periscope to broadcast their press conference about the gunman who attacked their department. Check out this video about the Boca Raton Police Department using Periscope. In an interesting turn of events, the Police Commissioner of Bengarulu, M.N. Reddi, would like citizens to use Periscope to live-stream crimes in progress via Periscope. Is this practical or should it even be considered?
Commissioner Reddi is a #LESM influencer in his country and has over 290,000 followers on Twitter @CPBlr, so when he speaks, people listen. But, does what he says have any practical value? Law enforcement has always asked our citizens to be good witnesses without putting themselves at risk. The question is would using Periscope to live-stream crimes in progress put citizens at risk?
Different communities have very diverging views on this issue. In some communities, it is probably not unusual to ask victims or witnesses of crimes to try and take a photo or video of a suspect or suspect vehicle if they can do so safely. In other communities, the potential danger from such an action is too real and should be avoided.
In that context, using Periscope is not much different than taking a photo. The risk is the same. In either case, no action should be taken unless the person taking the action can do so safely and not put themselves at risk. Outside of the risk issue, there are other concerns about using Periscope to live-stream crimes in progress.
The article suggests that Periscope could be used to by-pass calling 9-1-1. Is that really a good idea? Some areas of the country now allow text to 9-1-1, but are we ready for Periscope to 9-1-1? The law enforcement agency or the 9-1-1 center would have to have a Periscope account. Someone using Periscope to live-stream a crime in progress would have to invite the agency to view it. As a result, the responsible agency would have to have someone monitoring Periscope 24/7. The bigger challenge is determining the location. Periscope recently changed their location feature to make it less specific and more of a general area for safety purposes. As a result, it would be difficult to find the exact location of a live-stream of a crime in progress from Periscope.
Although the concept of using Periscope to live-stream crimes in progress sounds like a good idea, the reality is there are many valid concerns in its execution. These concerns may be mitigated over time but for now, the Periscope screen is dark on this idea.