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Crime-reporting app to debut in St. Louis

Reports indicate that a crime-reporting app that has been used successfully in another city will debut in St. Louis this summer. The app is called the French Quarter Task Force app in it's home city, but will be renamed when offered for locals to download.

The purpose of the app is to allow citizens to quickly report issues to police that might not warrant a 911 phone call or official report. Individuals using the app can text in about suspicious activity or even take pictures to send to police stations. The hope is that the app will lead to more information that lets law enforcement officers address small issues before they become larger issues.

The app, which has been nicknamed "Uber for cops" has reportedly helped reduce crime in another city. But this type of tool is not without consequences for some individuals. With civil "detectives" roaming the streets with their smartphones, it could become harder to avoid allegations simply because you look a certain way or are doing something that seems funny to someone else.

For example, if a violent crime occurs within a certain area around the same time someone snaps a picture of you with the app, then you might become a suspect to a crime you didn't even know occurred. There are other ways that the app could implicate someone, including the use of the app as a revenge tool.

While this app is mostly a positive tool that can be helpful in reducing crime, individuals should always be aware that in the modern world, cameras are everywhere. Your activities while in public can be recorded at anytime, and if you are accused of a crime, working with a lawyer to understand what video or image evidence is in play is a critical step in defense.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "New app, nicknamed 'Uber for cops,' may help fight crime in Central West End," Valerie Schremp Hahn, April 18, 2016

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