New CBS Series "Wisdom of the Crowd" Features Real Safety Technology

Picture of Mary Kate McGrath By Mary Kate McGrath

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Is TV Catching on to Modern Emergency Safety Management Technology?


Wisdom of the Crowd

A new fictional crime-fighting show is coming to CBS on Sunday nights, and it will feature crowd-source tools in use today by emergency safety management leaders. In the series, Wisdom of the Crowd, a technology mogul invents a crowd-sourcing app in the hope of solving his daughter’s murder. The tool ends up being a valuable asset to law enforcement and will help solve future crimes. While the show is bound to be a dramatization of law enforcement procedures, it demonstrates a growing awareness of how public safety officers are investing in technology.

The Current Use of Crowd-Sourced Crime-Fighting

Emergency management teams already use tools reminiscent of the crowd-sourcing app featured in the show, and 2-Way Anonymous Tip Texting is becoming a necessity in community safety plans. In the past, emergency responders would allow citizens to call in anonymously. However, statistics show that people, especially millennials, are more comfortable using a text format and therefore more likely to report crimes if this option is available.

Some law enforcement agencies have had an early start in adopting these technologies. In 2008, the New York City Police Station installed a program where citizens could text the word CRIME (or 274637) and initiate a conversation with the department’s Detective Bureau. When the program was launched, Police Chief Paul J. Browne told the New York Times that teenagers and young adults in particular, often prefer to communicate via SMS text rather than speaking to each other face to face. Browne said, “That might appeal to someone who wants to provide [law enforcement] information in a text form as opposed to talking.”

In the Wisdom of the Crowd, the “Sophe” app will involve citizens in the law enforcement process, making it an even more realistic depiction of today’s emergency safety practices. The show is expected to offer genuine insight into how public safety organizations can continue to embrace technology to protect citizens.

The Benefits of Modern Crime Fighting Tools

Crowd-sourced information is invaluable in situations where an individual feels uncomfortable speaking on the phone. Communicating via app can be discrete and allows law enforcement to respond to crimes that might have otherwise gone unreported or unresolved. An example of such a resource is an app called Rave Eyewitness, which streamlines the communication process for both public safety managers and residents. Because the tips are submitted anonymously through the system, residents don’t have to worry about protecting their phone number and privacy. It also displays usage and incident patterns over time for dispatchers, providing insight into the public’s needs.

According to CEO and co-founder of Rave Mobile Safety, Todd Piett, this app technology empowers individuals to participate in personal and community safety. “Rates of engagement rise significantly when people are given the ability to make anonymous reports,” Piett said. “Voicemail boxes have been replaced with smartphone apps or SMS tip solutions that allow users to submit pictures or even stream videos of emerging situations to security from their mobile phones.”

When it comes to trends in community preparedness and large-event safety, technology also plays a key role. In addition to crowd-sourcing mobile applications, public safety officials also leverage social media and temporary SMS System Opt-in systems to enable faster communication with the public if necessary. These modern practices prove essential for large events such as concerts, sports games, and community events. In preparation for large and high profile events, law enforcement will often monitor social media before the event as a way to determine the approximate number of people attending and identify potential threats. The Wisdom of the Crowd will likely touch on the use of crowd-sourced crime information at large-scale public events.

The Turning Point for TV and Modern Crime-Fighting Tools

The Wisdom of the Crowd brings up an important quandary facing law enforcement today. Public officials need to develop comprehensive safety management strategies that won’t alienate the community, and technology could be the answer. Crowd-sourced information enables law enforcement to cultivate a level of trust and dependence with the public, as users are directly engaged in the law practices thus enabling a heightened sense of transparency.

As new technologies become a reality for public safety officials across the country, we expect them to appear on television more often as well. The world is changing – law enforcement and TV shows alike are adapting to today’s technological advancements – and the exciting new series Wisdom of the Crowd is just one example of that.

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Mary Kate McGrath

Written by Mary Kate McGrath

Mary Kate is a content specialist and social media manager for the Rave Mobile Safety team. She writes about public safety for the state & local and education spheres.

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