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Police use Bluetooth messages to combat crime, target youth

Bluetooth technology is being more widely used to target youth and risk groups in urban areas to reduce crime or highten awareness
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Police are using amplified Bluetooth technology to spread messages to mobile users of crime prevention and to stay safe while out in the night time economy.

Places across the UK such as South Wales, Leeds, Glasgow, Tayside and Canterbury are using the wireless protocol to raise vigilance in combating crime and keeping the younger generation safe when out in the evening.

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The police use transmitters in patrol cars to send messages via Bluetooth between 30 and 100 metres away to any mobile phone or laptop with Bluetooth turned on and set to discoverable. In some areas, patrol cars are placed outside schools and colleges to specifically target youth, of which Bluetooth is a popular method of sharing photos, videos and multimedia content over the air.

In some cases, it can and has been used to find witnesses to serious crimes in specific areas, as Bluetooth can reach a wide number of users in a short time period without the need for collecting phone numbers and personally identifiable information.

While the technology is not new, nor is the method of transmitting messages, this use of technology shows that police across the world are recognising the use of wide-spread technology and taking advantage of the fact that many people use Bluetooth, though are not relying on it to inform citizens of vital messages.

Those with Bluetooth enabled and set to discoverable can see an incoming message from their police force via these transmitters and choose whether to accept the message or not. Though, some users choose to not enable Bluetooth as it can drain battery life and increase risk of contracting over the air viruses. It could also be argued that privacy could be invaded through these means, with suspicion of whether the police can detect your specific where-abouts.

Bluetooth 4.0, the next-generation wireless technology, is set to be rolled out by the end of this calendar year, enabling lower battery and power requirements yet amplifying signal range and offering speeds of 25Mbps.

Is Bluetooth a viable way of communicating with the masses, or would you feel your privacy being breached?

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