Today, as part of Microvolunteering Wednesday, we feature an opportunity found on Help From Home, a microvolunteering opportunity portal. If you fancy yourself as a superhero crimefighter but don’t want to dress up in a lycra suit with your pants on the outside, then have a look at today’s opportunity.
The ‘Virtual Stakeout’ website is run by the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition (TBSC). The site acts as an innovative real-time surveillance program designed to crowdsource the public into pro-actively participate in detecting and reducing crime along the Texas-Mexico border. This is facilitated by a network of strategically placed cameras and sensors in high threat areas that feeds live streaming videos back to the virtual stakeout website.
Users log into the website and choose which camera feed (currently from a range of 27) to view. Each one is provided with a brief description of what suspicious criminal activity to look out for. If something is spotted then the user should click the ‘Report Suspicious Activities’ button thus enabling the pyjama clad crime fighter to email the Border Sheriffs anonymously. Participation rates can be from a few minutes to whenever you get bored.
These day and night surveillance cameras in effect create a virtual neighbourhood watch scheme constantly monitoring the area to deny drug and human smugglers unobserved access to the US. The cost of this scheme is partly offset from advertising revenue, but this is a small price to pay to stop criminal activity in its tracks.