Camera Phones Give Tipsters New Ammo

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Potholes. Trash-filled vacant lots. Hit and run accidents. Crimes in progress. These are some of the things Mayor Bloomberg wants pedestrians to snap with their cell phones or cameras and send into the city, via the 311 and 911 systems. WNYC's Fred Mogul has more.

REPORTER: Bloomberg - or staff members on his behalf - call in concerns to 311 about twice a week, usually about garbage on the streets and sidewalks. He doesn't have a camera phone at the moment, but he thinks he'll be getting one and looks forward to providing photographic evidence to dispatchers. That way, they or the people they forward the images can differentiate, for example, between potholes and sinkholes.

BLOOMBERG: It makes a very big difference when you call in, and we want to make sure we get the right city agency working on it right away.

REPORTER: The NYPD is also hoping passersby send in images of robberies and other criminal activities, but only if they can do so without putting themselves at risk. People won't be able to send images to 311 or 911 systems simply by dialing those numbers, however. They'll have to call first and follow dispatchers' instructions or log on to the city's Web site with their computers. For WNYC, I'm Fred Mogul.