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Police Turn To Crowdsourcing To Gather Boston Blast Evidences

Not a picture perfect finish at the Boston marathon. [Photo Source: CNN]
Not a picture perfect finish at the Boston marathon. [Photo Source: CNN]
The Monday Boston blast is another tragic event that rocked the nation in what was supposed to be a fun-filled marathon. According to the CNN coverage of the Boston marathon incident released on April 15, 3 individuals were pronounced dead including an 8-year old boy. Then, around 144 people are being treated in medical facilities. Among the 144 people, 17 are in critical condition and 25 are seriously injured. Approximately 10 of the injured required amputation of the limbs said a terrorism expert who was part of the investigation.

Currently, police are just relying on videos gathered from their surveillance cameras scattered in strategic locations. However, this method proves to be very taxing as there were blind spots in the area due to the huge number of people gathered at the location.

To speed up the investigation of the authorities in the Boston bombing, they are now seeking evidences through crowdsourcing. Boston police is presently encouraging potential witnesses who captured the event to contribute videos and pictures that could identify the culprits of the Boston blast. This could also let officials learn how the terrorists managed to pull such a heinous act.

Cheryl Fiandaca, the chief of the police department’s public information bureau said that they are looking at the video of the Boston marathon finish line at the moment.  But some technical difficulties are preventing them from arriving at a clear picture of the unfortunate occurrence.

Examples of the problems encountered by the information bureau were the unresponsiveness of the Boston City government’s official website plus the commotion and messy scenes of the event according to Fiandaca.

As a remedy to speed up the analysis of the crime, she released a message through Twitter asking for videos of the finish line. She stated through CNET that the department will attend to the evidences whether they were taken by official or unofficial sources. However, another problem that she is facing now is that it is not clear how the people who possess evidences pertaining to the Boston blast can share it to the police department without going to the station. The Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed this predicament as well

Fiandaca added that the police do not usually turn to crowdsourcing as it does not form part of the investigation routine. But she said that this would serve as a quick alternative. This will pave way for future analysis to rely on crowdsourced data too.

So far, the news source pointed out that YouTube videos related to the Boston blast have been going viral but most of them were released by news agencies. Photos on Twitter were circulating the social networking site also but the materials were mostly focused on the aftermath or the dramatic moments during the explosion in the Boston marathon. The police may prefer getting information leading to the blast.

In addition, browsing through the event on the Internet using metadata such as hashtags can be cumbersome for the police because these could lead investigators to a lot of unrelated, inappropriate or replicated contents online.

Sources: CNET and CNN