Crowdsourcing Platforms Aid Agencies in Managing Evidence

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Public safety officials will soon have eyes in every crowd, as new evidence collection platforms arm citizens with the ability to submit video and photos to aid in disaster response and investigation.

Tip lines and other crowdsourcing solicitations have long encouraged the community to contribute to law enforcement investigations, but new technology has enabled departments to receive and process large amounts of digital media evidence from smartphones and other devices.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, authorities solicited the crowds for pictures and video to aid in immediate investigation of the area, but the resulting influx of media was overwhelming. In response, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) sought to improve the efficiency of departments to manage data collected during emergencies of this nature.

A collaborative team – LASD, Amazon Web Services, and cloud-storage company CitizenGlobal– launched the Large Emergency Event Digital Information Repository (LEEDIR) in April of 2014. The platform is free to use by law enforcement and relief agencies to collect, store, track and organize crowdsourced digital evidence from large-scale emergency events.

For citizens, photos and videos of the requested event can be submitted through LEEDIR’s website or mobile application. Events eligible for LEEDIR must involve over 5,000 people or coverage of 5 square miles, and cross multiple jurisdictions. The eyewitness platform has already served this year to request and process photos and videos of riots in Southern California that injured over 50 officers and citizens.

Crowdsourcing and community safety tool VizSAFE also offers first responders a cloud-based solution to receiving digital content submitted from users. Visual reports sent through the VizSAFE mobile application are tagged with the user’s location, so police monitoring the event are aware of areas that need attention. Departments have encouraged community members to download the application in advance of large public gatherings such as parades.

For evidence collected during crowdsourcing or investigations of any size, Net Transcripts offers secure transcription services of recorded audio and video. Our transcriptionists are highly skilled in producing accurate transcripts, even from a muffled recording or audio with background noise. For more information on expediting the investigative process by outsourcing transcription, visit Solutions for Law Enforcement.