Identifying Suspicious Incidents

by Gabrielle Beecher, Marketing Assistant - sci-Shot6/18/2014
confidential report

When people witness an incident that is not imminently threatening but suspicious nonetheless, they are faced with one major question: To call 911, or not to call? A recent study by the Bureau of Justice illustrates that many people – including witnesses of violent crimes – elect to not contact law enforcement due to fear of reprisal or reluctance to become too deeply involved.

sci-Shot, a Community Watch Mobile App, helps to alleviate these fears by providing the public with a convenient tool to get involved, to the extent desired, in reporting suspicious conduct. sci-Shot is committed to providing its Users with a trusted and impartial alternative to traditional report lines. It allows a caring public to express concerns anonymously, with little effort, and no repercussions. sci-Shot Users do nothing more than download the App, Upload a picture or video, and tag the Media – sci-Shot will take it from there, getting the report in the right hands.

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Partnership Brings Increased Surveillance

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot5/7/2014
video surveillance camera

Criminals can often run, but thanks to the emergence of social media and technology, they cannot hide. Surveillance cameras not only provide an image of the suspects, but they present indisputable evidence to corroborate eyewitness testimonies. Oftentimes, the videos or still images extracted from surveillance cameras are shared on social media, resulting in tips and additional information used to identify and locate suspects.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department recognizes the importance of the evidence provided by surveillance cameras, which is why they recently partnered with PublicEngines, a cloud-based solution that facilitates crime analysis, to increase the video footage available in surrounding areas. The main initiative of their partnership is to gain access to commercial and residential security cameras quickly and effectively. Community involvement is essential to making this happen. Citizens can register their cameras through CrimeReports.com and agree to share basic information. The information and camera footage will remain anonymous, and law enforcement must still request access to the footage. However, Public Safety Stewards will be able to view the location of the cameras in order to contact camera owners in the event of an incident in the area.

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Defamation When Reporting Suspicious Behavior

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot2/19/2014
frustrated business man

The Supreme Court recently gave airline employees ‘breathing space’ to report potential threats to security officials without fear of civil liability for a few inaptly chosen words. According to the Court, airline employees reporting suspicious behavior “should not face financial ruin if, in the heat of a potential threat, they fail to choose their words with exacting care.”

In reversing a pilot’s $1.2 million defamation verdict, the Court sought to encourage employees to report suspicious activities in a manner that is consistent with the Transportation Security Administration’s ‘when in doubt, report’ policy.

sci-Shot agrees that the public should not hesitate to provide potentially valuable information about threatening or suspicious behavior to those who may need it. This is why we have taken steps to protect sci-Shot users who share their pictures and video of seemingly hazardous, harmful, or illegal incidents.

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Cameras on Police Officers

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot1/29/2014
police officer pulling someone over

Our social movement app counts on a caring public to confidentially communicate their public safety concerns to peers and the stewards of public safety, and we’re not the only ones utilizing photo and video evidence to record or capture incidents. There is a growing trend of putting lapel cameras on police officers. This movement has obvious pros, but what about the cons?

Privacy and Constitutional Rights: As mentioned in a previous article, there are strict laws about recording an individual without consent. So would this mean that each time an officer is entering someone’s home or any private property, they have to receive consent from the property owner? What happens if an officer forgets to turn off the camera and captures incriminating evidence? Are the images captured from these cameras considered public record?

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Know Your Rights

by Anita Setnor Byer, Founder - sci-Shot1/22/2014
woman taking a photo

Our public safety social movement app permits a caring public to confidentially communicate their public safety concerns by taking photos and videos of the seemingly hazardous, harmful, or illegal incidents they witness each day. Because we’re counting on you to take photos and videos we wanted to make sure you know your rights as a photographer/videographer. According to the American Civil Liberties Union: 

  • You can photograph or record anything that is in plain sight when you are in public spaces
  • When you are on private property, your right to photograph or videotape is up to the property owner. If you disregard the property owner’s rules you can be arrested for trespassing if you do not comply
  • The right to photograph/videotape does not give you a right to disregard any other laws
  • You cannot take photos or video of someone in private. For example, you cannot take photos or video of someone in their home because that is considered private. You cannot take photos or video of someone in a public restroom because that is considered a private space.

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