Strengthening governance and fighting crime with mobile phones

Corroborating what I’ve written on this blog on using mobiles for peacebuilding, C|Net News has this story on how New York intends to use mobile phones to combat crime. What interested me more than the ability to send photos to 911 calls was this:

The technology will also eventually be extended to 311, a hotline established during the mayor’s first term in office to deal with nonemergency, quality-of-life concerns. Bloomberg said the new video and picture capability would hold “city agencies accountable for correcting (issues) quickly and efficiently.”

There’s huge potential for the replication of such services in cities worldwide – a mashup of Google Maps coupled with posts from subscribers highlighting the failings of local government authorities, say in the clearing up of garbage, can be a powerful visual message to strengthen good governance and effective service delivery for citizens.

Also see Strong Angel III – SMS, MMS, Google Maps mashups for thoughts of & concrete ideas for developing such SMS / MMS services based on stuff in development that I saw at Strong Angel III last year.

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