Send your cellphone photos and video to NYC's 911, 311

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New Yorkers now have something constructive to do with the cellphone’s photo and video cameras.

As of yesterday, New York City’s 911 and 311 (that’s for dumb things like, there’s a lot of traffic on the BQE this morning, do something~!) phone numbers can accept photos and videos taken from cellphones. It used to be that being able to send in text message tips was considered forward-looking, but this really could help out this city.

For example, someone sees an evildoer breaking into a car. They can take a cellphone of the person, along with the car’s license plate and make and model, and send that out to 911.

Or, if there’s an unsightly pile of garbage all over your street, take some video with your phone then fire it off to 311.

Now, New Yorkers are still encouraged to actually call 911 and 311 if something urgent is happening, since that’s the fastest way to reach the authorities. Think of the cellphone-provided material as a neat extra, but not something that replaces a good old fashioned phone call.