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India using Facebook to Fight Crime

Aug 3, 2010 4:20:29 PM - thesundayleader.lk

The City of Delhi, India has one of the worst traffic violation rates in the world. Unable to cope up with the sheer numbers of violations occurring on a daily basis, the Delhi Police opened up a Facebook page and encouraged people to contribute ‘evidence’ of traffic violations in order to track down more wrong doers.

The initiative has met with phenomenal success. The New York Times reports that up to 665 tickets have already been issued to violators based on pictures posted to the Facebook group. Surprisingly enough, 50 of those tickets were given to police officers who violated traffic laws. The police department now has four officers dedicated to monitoring the Facebook group around the clock.

The city’s joint commissioner of traffic, Satyendra Garg speaking to the NYT said ”With just 5,000 traffic officers in this city of 12 million people, the social networking site is filling a useful role. Traffic police can’t be present everywhere, but rules are always being broken. If people want to report it, we welcome it. A violation is a violation.”

The move has been met with approval by many Delhi residents. But dissent is also apparent with some calling the whole thing ‘Orwellian’.

Would techniques like this work in Sri Lanka? Can we apply them to other areas of crime such as corruption? Or even more importantly, would it encourage our sometimes errant Police force to discipline themselves? (The picture below was taken by a pedestrian last year.) Thoughts?