Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Tuning into the Crime Waves

"I think people are going to welcome the fact they can really see what's happening with crime in their area, not just on their street but in their neighbourhood. This is giving people a real tool, real power to see that something is being done about crime in their area. This doesn't make them frightened, it actually makes them feel a part of what is happening."

The first thing I do every morning is catch the latest from MyCrime - an app I've got which provides up to the minute crime footage from my area. I get it on the big screen; have it scrolling in the bottom left corner. It used to just be dots and colours (red, organge, green) but these days its all live feeds. I can get in there and see live footage of the crimes going off on my road, or I can get "best of" highlights.

When we moved, MyCrimes 3.0 (tm) had just kicked off. It's when Google Street Maps went LIVE! A great moment. Along with info about whether Samsung or CocaCola schools were performing best in the area (Samsung had a great deal which covered healthcare as well) we accessed this great 2 min vid showing the "bestof" for the previous 5 years. The best thing was a child from no.43 getting run over in slow motion from various angles, confirming that this was a good area and here we are.

I get the highlight reel in the morning so I can see the best of what's happened through the night - I like to see what's big now; what's good on my street; what's trending in the rest of the city. (today it's sex - sex is trending). As I pour myself a bowl of Retrios(tm), I peak through the blinds: all is quiet: like an old fashioned late winter morning: a piercing sun masking the icey chill. If June catches me looking she scolds me."Get away from there," she says.

It's all peace and quiet when the reel boots, the music kicks in. Last night number 59 got burgled, 64, someone smoked inside, and next door homicide: my neighbour got strangled to death. I never heard a thing. There's a stream of accomanying text, tweets and updates from locals who think they heard or saw something.

I get an overview of my street and there's dots of crime everywhere. "Dog fowling", "youth loitering", "man stabbing". Nothing unusual. I look up, towards the window, masked by the beige screen, and switch it on so it's now projecting a mosaic of film screens - news, sport, email, etc. I bring up Streetlive (tm) and scan the street. Nothing to see, no one around, nothing to report. Someone's just tweeted an update on the MyCrimes feed that they saw something move up my road. I can't see anything. I wait, in anticipation. You wouldn't believe me if I told you I used to walk 20 mins home from the "rail station". I continue to watch, my fingertips starting to tingle with anticipation. I waste hours like this.

On the big screen, a commentary plays on the strangling. There's a trail of events leading directly from the victim's facebook profile, some illicit tweets and an inappropriate Tumblr. The perpetrator lost it. Wow! There's my house. Footage from StreetLive(tm). His car drives up, then we get footage from inside. It seems she never turns the cameras off (you're not supposed to afterall). An autotweet went out at 2.34am from the house's profile. "broken entry into rear quarters!" Friends tweet to say "you go for it girl!" and "WOOF!" She had recently taken a new lover.

It's pretty lo res but he goes through the gate, round the back into the kitchen door. Through and up the stairs. Cameras everywhere - but not the bedroom. Camera from the garden shows a man is thrown from the window. Then the culprit emerges from the bedroom - we hear the struggle - with soiled hands. He walks to the shed. We hear a certain but gently muffled gun shot that punctuates the end of the film.

I finish my Retrios and notice the time: time for work.


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  2. As a self-styled superhero vigilante, I find nothing more engaging than whipping-out the old crack-pipe and checking out the score on my MyCrimes app; then I'm ready to pull on the carbon-weave stockings and reinforced man-corset for the good-to-go (after another swift toke on the pipe). Later I will check in with my dealer to score me some more crack before I hit the street to administer raw justice with my customised hockey-stick side-arm. I have just one complaint, due to some, no doubt, technical glitch, I keep finding myself listed among the daily offenders; so while this missive is byway-of a wholehearted endorsement, I wonder if you could de-list me from the perp-roll so I can carry out my one-man justice crusade, without having to dodge the various enforcement entities? Thanks in advance. THE HOCKEYSTICK AVENGER.