Facebook Used by Police to Catch Lawless Drivers


The traffic police of Delhi, India, are using citizen submissions on a Facebook page to catch and ticket misbehaving drivers.

The New York Times says officials have issued 665 tickets based on photographs of license plates posted to the Delhi Traffic Police Facebook page, which has almost 18,000 fans.

The police didn’t initially solicit these photos, but citizens took the initiative to help the authorities because Delhi, a sprawling metropolis that’s home to more than 12 million people, has only 5,000 traffic cops.

This method will only become more useful. The 2010 Commonwealth Games will take place in Delhi in early October, bringing a huge influx of travelers to the roads. Now the info panel at the Facebook (Facebook) page says: “Managing traffic in Delhi during the Commonwealth Games will be a big challenge as well as a great opportunity. Delhi Traffic Police cannot possibly succeed without the active cooperation, participation and support of all the citizens.”

There are detractors, of course. Privacy hard-liners aren’t thrilled with the idea of cameras snapping shots of them from every direction (though many nations have automated cameras at stoplights and roundabouts that do just that) and there’s always the possibility that someone adept at Photoshop (Adobe Photoshop) will forge a depiction of a traffic violation to harass someone else.

The Delhi Traffic Police also tweets about traffic congestion and operates a website, though the latter looks like it was designed in 1997 — hit counter and all!

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