SCIENCE

How Snapchat is helping the Chilean police to find back missing people

SANTIAGO – Searching for new, innovative ways of implementing daily life tools in useful police instruments, the Investigation Police Department has now turned to Snapchat. The application could help the police to find people who are in alleged misfortune by projecting a 3D image that will be seen throughout the country via social networks. “Technology is a great ally in scientific investigation,” said Manuel Fuentes, commissioner of the People Location Brigade.

The application launched by the Investigation Police Department in association with Raya Agency of Communication and Snapchat allows officers to broaden the range of searching for missing people. The system allows to project a video of the missing person in 3D into Snapchat and make it go viral by using the hashtag #findinghope, so any person may recognize him or her and provide information. Officials think the effectiveness of this tool lies in its advanced technology. It is enough to just point a cellphone camera on the “Snapcode” which will generate a 3D image of the missing person and visualizes details such as height and physical complexion. In this sense, the commissioner of the People Location Brigade, Manuel Fuentes, remarked: “Technology is a great ally in scientific investigation. The idea of the project is that all the data of missing people can be shared, this way we would be able to find them and bring them back to their families.”

When finding the different codes of missing persons in the network, users can scan the image by focusing the camera on that code and press it with the finger. Once the program is executed, a message will show up asking the user to release the content on the network for 24 hours. After that step, the 3D image will be seen on the smartphone screen. Finally, a video with the 3D image can be downloaded from Snapchat and shared on social networks. “We believe that some distinctive features cannot be appreciated in a simple picture, but in 3D we can see any kind of details such as physical complexion, tattoos and so on” Guillermo Gajardo, Creative Director of Raya agency, told hoy x hoy newspaper.

The People Location Brigade has been investigating disappearance complaints for 15 years. During 2015 8,726 orders of investigation for lost people at the national level were registered. In the first three months of 2018 the number reached 2.026 cases, 1.048 concern underage persons, 880 adults (between 18 and 60 years), and 98 senior citizens (61 and older).

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