Archives for the category: SMS used by the Police

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September 28, 2006

Crime victims urged to SMS 999

bbyop.gif UK crime victims are being urged to summon police help by sending them a text message, according to The Sun.

"Cops hope the alternative to dialling 999 will appeal to younger people — and be of practical help to the hard of hearing.

The idea is being tried out by Essex Police and the number will be released later. But the force stressed that 999 should still be used if possible.

Some detectives criticised the text move, fearing it will cause delays and possible dangers."

emily | 3:21 PM | permalink

September 6, 2006

Digital prints speed up detection

UK scientists say their new system for checking fingerprints is having a big impact in the fight against crime. The BBC reports.

"Six police forces are now using the technology, which relies on new compression techniques to transmit digital prints over mobile phones. Professor Nigel Allinson from Sheffield University said matches could now be made within hours as opposed to days."

emily | 1:35 PM | permalink

August 28, 2006

Cops follow texting trail

Cops follow texting trail: Investigators routinely retrieve cell phone text messages as clues in everything from killings to divorce proceedings. ipCoomunications reports.

"Text messages surfaced as evidence in the Kobe Bryant rape proceedings before the alleged victim refused to testify." (cf Bryant's Attorneys File Motion to Access SMS Data)

Overseas news reports link text messages to bribes in Zimbabwe, a robbery in Australia and a homicide in Sweden."

Related articles in textually and picturephoning categories:

-- SMS used by the police

-- SMS used as evidence in court

-- Camphone snapshots nab criminals

emily | 4:20 PM | permalink

August 10, 2006

Text Message 'Accents' Could Catch Crooks

9handcuffs.jpgMobile phone users' text message 'accents' could be used as evidence to cage criminals, eports Life Style Extra.

Researchers at the University of Leicester (UK) say texters can be identified by their messaging style and that groups of people pick up similar styles, in the same way as regions and gangs have particular accents.

Now forensic psychologists have launched a study to assess the similarities and differences between individuals and groups of people.

In 2002, a court heard that the alibi of Stuart Campbell, the builder who murdered his 15-year-old Danielle Jones, was flawed. It rested on Danielle sending him SMS, but analysis showed the texts were not written in her style. Campbell was convicted of the murder. Dr Tim Grant, one of the project leaders, said this showed texts could be invaluable in evidence, and said he hoped the research would take the forensic implications of text evidence further forward.

Dr Grant said that groups and gangs develop a similar texting style or "accent". "As texting is a relatively new mode of communication, there are no generally accepted constraints and rules of grammar are quite weak. This freedom allows for significant individual differences in text messaging style, and this can be used to identify the text's authors."

Dr Grant added that there is a possibility of producing a computer program that could use the findings to analyse text messages, but it would depend on the frequency of cases."

Regine | 1:30 PM | permalink

June 29, 2006

Dutch Police send out SMS after child-abduction bids

Dutch police have warned local people in the south of the country to be on the lookout for two men who tried to abduct two young boys in separate incidents this week. [via Expatica]

... "The Dutch Police used the SMS alarm system to warn mobile phone users in a 10km radius around the town to watch out for the car and the men. A police search was also mounted on Wednesday."

emily | 7:50 PM | permalink

June 20, 2006

Crime alerts at your fingertips in Boston

Boston has become the latest - and largest - U.S. city to launch a crime alert system designed to get the word out about murders, bank robberies and other crimes to residents and businesses via e-mail, text messaging and fax, reports Associated Press.

"Alerts are sent not only about various violent crimes, but also about trends, such as car break-ins. Specific types of businesses, such as pizza shops, can be warned of robberies. Alerts also can be sent about fugitives and missing persons.

The program is designed to both disseminate and solicit information, at a time when prosecutors complain that witnesses too often remain quiet. The program allows anonymous tips.

... The department's first alert was about a May 30 bank robbery in South Boston. A young woman wearing dark sunglasses and a Gap sweat shirt made off with an undetermined amount of cash.

An alert was sent after two men were fatally shot outside a Dorchester store on Wednesday afternoon. None of the cases have been solved, but officials say there are success stories in other cities using the technology."

emily | 12:19 PM | permalink

May 5, 2006

Cellphones Used to Track Down Crooks in Kenya

Police in Kenya have been exploiting cell phone technology to solve high-profile murder and robbery cases, reports MobileAfrica.

"Police and prosecutors are increasingly relying on call records from mobile telephone operators Safaricom and Celtel to pick out suspects during investigations and link them to crimes.

Among the high-profile cases police have solved using the technology are the sensational kidnapping of tycoon Abdul Karim Popat and 15-year old Manik Gokals; tracing of police killer Daniel Kiptum Cheruiyot to his hideout; killing of land dealer Lawrence Githinji Magondu; and a Sh4 million robbery at the Bank of India in Westlands, Nairobi.

The cellphone was crucial to investigations into the killing of Mombasa Port CID chief Hassan Ahmed Abdillahi."

Related articles:

-- Fighting Crime With Cellphones' Clues

-- Cellphone Forensics at Crime Scenes

--Digital evidence is increasingly crucial to criminal investigations

-- UK police making Gil Grissom jealous...

-- The field of Cell Phone Forensics

-- Police turn forensic skills on handhelds

emily | 11:29 AM | permalink

May 4, 2006

Fighting Crime With Cellphones' Clues

gilcsi.gif" Cellphones are everywhere and they are playing ever larger roles in the lives of almost everyone — including criminals. Drug dealers, rapists and murderers across the country have been caught based, at least partly, on the electronic gadgets they carry around. The New York Times reports.

"But extracting clues and leads from mobile electronics is no cakewalk. Unlike personal computers, 90 percent or more of which use the Windows operating system, cellphones rely on a confusing jumble of software that varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and even phone to phone. Data is often hidden or encrypted. And as long as a phone is connected to its cellular network, there is always a chance that its call histories and text messages will be erased, deliberately or otherwise.

Police departments have only recently begun training investigators in the delicate art of mobile-electronics forensics.

... With a court order, investigators can usually get a code from the manufacturer that unlocks the PIN. Inside the phone, there is often an astounding amount of information: deleted text messages; lengthy call histories; pictures and movies taken so long ago that the owner may not even remember taking them".

Related articles:

-- Cellphone Forensics at Crime Scenes - Logicube has developed a portable kit which can extract data from over 160 handset when needed by the police and forensic staff.

--Digital evidence is increasingly crucial to criminal investigations - Cell phones have become the new "smoking gun" for prosecutors and police in the Twin Cities and around the world

-- UK police making Gil Grissom jealous... - The Forensic Science Service (FSS) has developed a mobile laboratory which will travel to crime scenes and carry out real-time forensic investigation and analysis

-- The field of Cell Phone Forensics - Modern detectives are now using cell phone forensics to capture more and more criminals.

-- Police turn forensic skills on handhelds - Handhelds are likelier to lead to handcuffs for techie criminals following the release of a report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

emily | 3:35 PM | permalink

March 16, 2006

China's New Participatory Citizen Surveillance

commprop.gif China's Public Ministry of Public Security has launched "an ID service where mobile phone users can send text messages to a government ID database as a way to confirm a person's identity," according to the China Digital Times. This service is also available through the internet.

[via Smart Mobs.

emily | 7:42 AM | permalink

February 22, 2006

Police texting scheme nets first criminal

POLICEDIRECTlogosmall.jpg A 43-year-old man was arrested in Brandon on Tuesday thanks to Police DIrect, a service that notifies residents of current crimes by text message or email. Bury St Edmonds Today reports.

"Launched last August by Suffolk Police, the scheme enables the force to send out more than 200,000 messages in an hour.

In the past, it has been used to warn residents about bogus callers who may be operating in their midst, but this week it was used to trace a wanted criminal.

Around 6,000 messages were sent out on Tuesday lunchtime warning users of a prolific church burglar believed to be in the area – and it worked.

Within an hour, an eagle-eyed resident had called the police saying they had spotted the man, who was promptly arrested and charged with theft and burglary.

"We've had lots of small successes with the scheme, with upwards of 6,000 people now signed up, but this is the first apprehension we have had. Chf Supt Mark Cordell, area commander for Suffolk Police said. "It just shows what an excellent crime-fighting tool it is. By using the eyes and the ears of the public, we can help make the county an even safer place to live in". [via SMSTextNews]

emily | 3:41 PM | permalink

January 29, 2006

'Too trendy' text alert by police force backfires

Police in Avon and Somerset (UK), are being ridiculed for using placards in Bristol's Kingswood area written in text message terminology, reports The Guardian.

"One says: 'Du ur olds knw whr U r o wot ur doin coz D bil wl tel em', which translates as 'Do your parents know where you are or what you are doing? Because the police will tell them.'

The signs, intended to reduce crime, have been attacked for straining too hard. Guy Bailey, a Jamaican community leader, said: 'It is wrong for the police to single out any one particular group, especially in a manner such as this. These signs should be written so everybody can understand them.'

A police spokesman said: 'This was considered the best way to reach people.'

emily | 11:22 AM | permalink

January 10, 2006

Cell phone tracing helps nab criminals

... Investigative technologies for public telephones, cell phones and automobiles have improved significantly. A senior National Police Agency official said, "Kidnapping for ransom has become a crime in which criminals can't expect to succeed", reports TMCnet from Tokyo.

"A cell phone was used first in a kidnapping case in that of a Fuji Bank clerk in Minato Ward, Tokyo, in November 1991. Such phones are said to be difficult to trace compared with public phones.

Since then, a prepaid cell phone and a cell phone registered in another person's name have been used to prevent police tracing the perpetrator of a kidnapping, including that of a second-grade primary school student of Yokohama in April 2000.

But even if police fail to trace a cell phone, it is still possible to narrow down the whereabouts of the user within a radius of several hundreds meters, as long as the power is on. As a result of technological advances and cooperation between cell phone companies and police, the ability to trace cell phones has improved greatly, leading to a number of arrests in recent years.

A law aimed at confirming the identity of cell phone users was enforced in April 2005. Due to the law, it is difficult to obtain such a phone in another person's name."

emily | 10:14 AM | permalink

December 8, 2005

SMS Alert Service for Dutch Police

Emexus, a global mobile services company, provided the Netherlands police force with a special alert system which uses SMS mobile technology to improve local security and provide a communication system for alarming local residents in case of a crisis.

After a very successful pilot in Tilburg, the Dutch police force is now ready to roll out the service to the rest of the Netherlands, starting in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The SMS alert system allows local residents to subscribe according to their zip code, and receive SMS text alerts from the police regarding activity in their community. [via Press release]

emily | 3:55 PM | permalink

November 15, 2005

Finnish Police may reprimand citizens via SMS

finlandpolice.gif Finnish police may approach unruly citizens via text message, according to Newsroom Finland.

"For example in Salo, the cradle of the Finnish mobile phone industry, police have adopted the practise of sending motorists text messages into their mobile phones about for example faulty lights. Also the highest echelons of the Finnish police administration try to think of ways in which the technology could be utilised to a greater extent than now.

Police administration wants to make absolutely sure that the right person gets the text message. Also the person receiving the message must be sure it really was sent by the police."

emily | 4:50 PM | permalink

October 27, 2005

Police raids SMS sex-for-sale services in Beijing

Police in Beijing kicked off a campaign to eliminate sex-for-sale services advertised via SMS, the official news outlet Xinhua News Agency reported, via Interfax China.

"Beijing police said the amount of SMS messages carrying prostitution-related information is increasing recently and the police force, while working closely with assorted governing authorities to better regulate wireless value-added service providers, will take more "severe measures" to tackle the crime.

Since Beijing police issued a public warning to citizens on October 18, a total of 1,200 phone calls were made reporting illegal SMS messages.

Based on the reported information and previous investigations, Beijing police captured and detained 48 prostitutes, pimps, and their clients in the capital city, Xinhua said."

emily | 4:20 PM | permalink

October 12, 2005

Dialing 311 To Fight Crime

5087873_240X180.jpg A program called "Operation Live Link" was launched this week in the Mount Pleasant section of Washington, which is in the city's third district, reports NBC4.

"The Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance donated three cell phones to officers who patrol the area. When residents dial 311, they will reach the police to report anything suspicious.

Residents can then call in with complaints about public drunkenness, prostitution, suspicious people and loitering, and the 911 system is not affected."

emily | 5:00 PM | permalink

September 25, 2005

Cell phone tracking aids law enforcement

screens.jpg The Journal News reports on how authorities have used cell phone technology that gives off signals, either thru GPS or ground towers, to capture suspects and put defendants at a crime scene — even if there are no witnesses.

One of the more notable cases came this summer when British authorities captured a London bombings suspect in Italy by tracking his phone.

But some criminals already have caught on.

"In organized crime, the perpetrators are aware of the vulnerability of such phones so will often use the phone only once," Robert McCrie, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. said. "But even using them once can sometimes be enough to identify the voice, time and location of the call and result in arrest. They just use the phone once and discard it. They believe that by getting new phones and new numbers, it will be hard for authorities to know who they are. It's a sophisticated way of trying to avoid detection."

"The technology is definitely there to help us solve many cases," said Detective Kevin Owens of the Kent Police Department.

But there are concerns that law-enforcement officials could violate privacy laws by monitoring people through their cell-phone activity.

"The concern is always that this technology could be abused," said Linda Berns, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union's Lower Hudson Valley Chapter."

emily | 3:25 PM | permalink

September 20, 2005

London Mayor launches text service to reduce sexual attacks in illegal minicabs

poster_sml.jpg The Mayor of London has launched the UK's first text service to enable safer minicab travel as part of the ongoing campaign against sexual assaults and rapes on women by illegal minicab drivers, reports eGov Monitor.

"The innovative text service allows people to receive localised licensed cab numbers direct to their mobile phones by texting ‘HOME' to 60835. The service forms part of ‘Know what you're getting into', a campaign which warns women of the dangers of using illegal minicabs and offers safer travel information. The new campaign includes posters, radio and cinema adverts and a link-up with Heart106.2.

Unlicensed cabs provide a cover for some of the most serious crime in London: in the year leading up to October 2002. Women were sexually assaulted by illegal cab drivers - 54 of these women were raped".

emily | 12:37 PM | permalink

September 17, 2005

SMS alerts to warn of biscuit bandits

royalorient.jpg A reminder never to take candy (or cookies from) a stranger.

In Chennai, India, the Railway Police have launched an SMS campaign to alert passengers about biscuit bandits reports the "The campaign, which kicked off last week, aims to cover all the mobile users.

The SMS warns railway passengers about strangers, who offer drugged food items and escape with their belongings. The Railway Police have tied up with all mobile companies to spread warning messages through SMS."

emily | 9:38 AM | permalink

September 7, 2005

Police text appeal for baby found in pond

According to The Herald, UK Police yesterday appealed to young people to contact them by SMS with any information on an infant boy found dead in a park.

Detectives hope it will encourage more people to come forward with information after the baby's body was discovered in a duck pond.

The mobile phone tactic is aimed at specific age groups, echoing the tactics adopted by Lothian and Borders Police during the recent investigations into the murder of schoolboy Rory Blackhall.

It is thought the baby's mother may be a schoolgirl, and that since the birth may not have returned to school or is acting in a withdrawn manner."

emily | 10:56 AM | permalink

September 1, 2005

Twelve suspects respond to riot SMS

tn2_fotoM052.jpg Update on Football riot story: According to Expatica, Twelve people (this morning we said 5) who were present during the riot at the Feyenoord-Ajax football match in April have turned themselves in to the authorities.

"They were among the 17,000 mobile phone owners who received an SMS on Tuesday asking for their cooperation in identifying the rioters.

The SMS asked the recipients to surf to on the internet and study photographs of the alleged hooligans.

The police said on Thursday they received another 40 "good tips" from people who were sent the SMS.

A spokesman said that the 12 suspects had gone to the authorities because "the ground had become too hot under their feet"."

Related articles:

-- Dutch football rioters turn themselves in following SMS

-- Amsterdam sends SMS investigation appeal to citizens

emily | 6:44 PM | permalink

August 28, 2005

Detectives launch SMS campaign to find shoolboy killer

In the hunt for the killer of Scottish schoolboy, Rory Blackhall, a week ago, detectives launched a text messaging service to encourage people to come forward with information. The number, 07717 997 885, will allow the public to send in texts as well as pictures and video clips. [via the BBC.]

emily | 6:10 PM | permalink

August 27, 2005

SMS reminder: Wear your helmet

With less than a week left for the government notification on compulsory wearing of helmets to take effect, traffic police in the city of Ahmedabad have started a campaign to bring awareness among citizens regarding the compulsion, according to Ahmedabad Newsline India.

The police have tied up with cellular service providers to send SMSs to all their subscribers regarding the date of implementation of the notification."

emily | 9:06 AM | permalink

August 17, 2005

Police appeal for information by SMS on abandonned infant

The Brickfields police of Kuala Lumpur, are appealing for information from the public by phone or SMS, on a baby boy found inside a black bag on Monday night.

"Brickfields police chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Dzulraidi Ibrahim said the baby was dumped at the car park in front of the station.

It is believed that the baby was born about six hours before he was found. The baby is in good health, weighing at 2.1kg."[via
Malay Mail Online]

emily | 10:43 AM | permalink

August 16, 2005

London police launch terror text service

design1204.jpgWorried commuters can sign up for mobile phone alerts on the terrorist threat to London in a pioneering police initiative, writes This is London.

The "terror text" will also provide updates on the inquiry into the July 7 and July 21 attacks.

"In the aftermath of July 7 and July 21 we have had to look at how we can reassure Londoners," said Tarique Ghaffur at Scotland Yard. "This service enables us to send information by SMS, voice message or email about this enquiry."

It is hoped that the public will also use the new service to report incidents and to respond to appeals for information.

Detective Chief Inspector Bob Kennett said the system would eventually allow police to target information to areas directly affected by a particular crime.

By asking users to register details of their postcode, officers will direct appeals to those most likely to have been witnesses. It may eventually mean sending SMS to those closest to the scene of a road accident, or leaving answering machine messages on the landline of homes closed up in roadblocks or armed alert.

Regine | 10:43 PM | permalink

August 11, 2005

Digital evidence is increasingly crucial to criminal investigations

gilcsi.gif Cell phones have become the new "smoking gun" for prosecutors and police in the Twin Cities and around the world, reports St Paul Pioneer Press. This month, British and Italian police helped arrest a terror suspect by tracing his cell phone usage minutes after London subway blasts.

"Prosecutors and police have quickly learned that lacking eyewitnesses, DNA or even a murder weapon, cell phone records can cement a circumstantial case and in some cases help locate suspects. With cell phones as typical as wallets or keys, investigators now frequently turn to digital evidence first.

"We search cell phones on all homicides," said Colleen Luna, St. Paul Police's senior commander of the homicide and evidence units. "Most people keep cell phones pretty close."

Investigators, with the help of global positioning systems, can figure out a suspect's location at the time of the crime. Phone records can show communication between suspects, conspirators and victims and help prosecutors check out alibis.

.. As cell phones become a mainstay of American life, the use of digital evidence would only increase.

"Digital media are part of everyday living," Stephen Cribari, a former federal public defender who teaches evidence at the University of Minnesota Law School. said, "So they are going to start appearing in court in an everyday way."

Related articles:

-- UK police making Gil Grissom jealous... - The Forensic Science Service (FSS) has developed a mobile laboratory which will travel to crime scenes and carry out real-time forensic investigation and analysis

-- The field of Cell Phone Forensics - Modern detectives are now using cell phone forensics to capture more and more criminals.

-- Police turn forensic skills on handhelds - Handhelds are likelier to lead to handcuffs for techie criminals following the release of a report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

emily | 11:17 AM | permalink

August 1, 2005

Mumbai Police sends out SMS: Please do not Travel

laun.jpg Due to heavy rains, water logging likely. Please do not travel unless essential—Mumbai Police. That's the message many Mumbaikars got on their cellphones and through other media on Sunday morning, as the city endured heavy showers again, four days after a record-breaking deluge. This time though, the government seemed better prepared even as the state-wide toll topped 890, reports
Express India.

"The police sent text messages to subscribers of several mobile networks requesting them to stay indoors. Police Commissioner A N Roy came on television to convey the same message. And additional traffic policemen were despatched to divert traffic from waterlogged areas like Dadar, Matunga, King's Circle and Andheri".

Related: - R u safe & dry: SMS floods Mumbai networks

Picture from the BBC.

emily | 9:49 AM | permalink

July 29, 2005

Cell phones tripped up alleged CIA operation

b&w.gif A trail of casual cell phone use that tripped up the 19 purported CIA operatives wanted by Italian authorities in the alleged kidnapping of a radical Muslim cleric, reports The Associated Press.

"The suspects used at least 40 Italian cell phones, some in their own names. A track of their cell phones also showed them on those streets "nearly 100 times" during the month before Abu Omar's disappearance, the prosecutor said.

Why they would use their cell phones so openly has baffled experts.

Unless the power or the wireless antenna is turned off, a mobile phone remains in constant contact with the nearest cell towers even when it's not being used for a call. Information processed by the cells can be used to precisely locate or track the movements of a phone user."

Nativi, the military expert, called the use of regular cell phone accounts "a huge weakness in the operation." It would have been more difficult to track anonymous prepaid cards, satellite phones or radios, he said."

emily | 11:36 AM | permalink

June 22, 2005

Cell Phone Helped Save Kidnapped Woman

Technology now built into cellular phones is being credited for helping save a Montgomery County woman's life, according to ABC7 News.

"The 27-year-old Silver Spring woman was allegedly kidnapped by her estranged husband Tuesday outside her office in Rockville. As she was being driven around, she was able to place a call to a friend who in turn contacted police.

Police then called the woman and were able to track her from the Global Positing Signal in her cell phone.

Related stories:

-- Cell phone text messages lead police to kidnapped teen

-- Texting frees Dutch kidnap victim

emily | 2:01 PM | permalink

June 12, 2005

Cell phone text messages lead police to kidnapped teen

Discreetly holding her cell phone by her leg as she sat in her ex-boyfriend's car, Kelly Lazo screamed for help with the quiet typing of text messages, reports The Capital.

"In one of the first messages, she typed, "I need help. My boyfriend, he's trying to go to New York with me and I don't want to go there," recalled her new boyfriend, Elder Lazaro.

Eventually, in a flurry of messages to her sister, Ms. Lazo, who speaks little English, was able to say what highway signs she was passing.

Nassau County police stopped the car on the Long Island Expressway and arrested Mr. Machuca, 23, who was charged with kidnapping in both Maryland and New York state".

emily | 5:03 PM | permalink

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