CrimeTube: NYPD Assembling Its Own Video Site

Give the NYPD some credit. Stung by a YouTube video of one of New York’s Finest body-checking a bicyclist in Times Square, NYPD chief Ray Kelly isn’t hiding from Web video. He’s embracing it. Or at least he says he is.

Kelly says his department is building the capability on its own Web site for video uploads of evidence of crimes — including those committed by cops.

“It’s a fact of life,” Kelly told Reuters. “Everybody has a camera in their telephones. When people can record an event taking place that helps us during an investigation, it’s helpful.”

Kelly says the function will be added to the NYPD’s Web site “soon.” NYPD has used cell phone snapshots as evidence, such as in the case of a subway flasher last year, but now more phones are able to shoot video. But the big question here is what happens to the video after it gets uploaded. Will others, perhaps other witnesses, be able to watch the video, and come forward with more information?

But we’re pretty sure, but haven’t confirmed, that the NYPD doesn’t intend to make this a voyeur site open to the general public. Which means that for the rest of us, YouTube will remain the best place to watch video of people committing crimes. Like this clip of the cop taking out a cyclist riding with the pro-bike group Critical Mass, which has generated 1.2 milion views since Sunday. (And here’s the cop’s account, thanks to the Smoking Gun.)

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