Police in Delhi Use Facebook to Catch Unlawful Drivers

Resident-submitted photo of a vehicle running a red light in Delhi. (Gagan Gupta/Facebook)

Facebook is useful for more than just wall posts and status updates. In New Delhi, police forces are using the social media site to catch dangerous drivers in the act. Traffic police in New Delhi, a city infamous for its bad drivers and traffic-clogged roads, created a Facebook page two months ago. Residents are encouraged to post pictures of traffic violations with captions of the date, time, and offense. The response to the page was overwhelming. As of this morning, over 19,000 people have become fans of the page and have posted over 3,000 photos incriminating unlawful drivers.  

The New York Times reports that the Delhi Traffic Police have issued 665 tickets using the license plate numbers provided in the photos. While the purpose of the page was initially to give residents a venue to voice their concerns, and not to turn in fellow drivers, officials welcome the photos.

That is probably because India has the highest number of traffic fatalities than any other country in the world and Delhi is the one of the most densely populated and traffic-choked cities in the country. It would be impossible for the police to catch every traffic violation and it seems as if residents and Internet users are more than willing to help.

Still, the Facebook page has its critics. Those who oppose the page point out that photos could be falsified, people might use the site to target others maliciously, and the idea that the government is using the Internet to keep tabs on its citizens doesn't sit well with some.