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New York City 911 Centers Can Receive Cell Pictures and Texts

I go out running alone a lot and watch too much Law & Order: SVU for my own good so I'm always thinking about how I'd be able to get to my cell phone to call 911 from the trunk of a speeding car. Crazy, but true. That's why this advancement from the New York City emergency line is a pretty useful piece of safety technology. The 911 line is now equipped to receive texts, cell phone pictures, and video as calls of distress.

While other cities are already able to accept texts (this I didn't know!) officials say they believe that New York is the first city with the image capabilities. Mayor Bloomberg had this to say about it: "This technology should put a scare into every would-be criminal because the chances of getting caught in the act is now better than ever." Not to mention the increased accuracy in providing descriptions — how often have 911 operators heard, "um, he's a guy with brown hair?" Now they'll be able to see him. By next year, callers' images will be made available to patrol cars and will be accepted as evidence.

The cost of the upgrade? A mere 18 months and $250,000. Since crime in New York is down 3 percent, it seems like a smart investment — and more security than either Stabler or Benson could provide.


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