THE FBI has launched a mobile app for iOS and Android called FBI Bank Robbers that asks members of the public to help solve actual bank robberies while idly playing on their smartphones.
The FBI no doubt hopes that those losing interest in the Pokémon Go craze will find the idea of helping to catch real-life bad guys even more exciting.
The app brings together information from the BankRobbers.fbi.gov website, and is designed to make it as easy as possible to look at bank robbery suspects.
The blurb used to promote the app really does make it sound like a game, and quite a fun one at that.
“Bank robberies can be sorted by the date they occurred, the category they fall under (i.e. armed serial bank robber), the FBI field office working on the case, or the state where the robbery occurred,” it says.
“If the location services on your device are enabled, you can view a map that shows the relevant bank robberies that took place in your geographic area. You can also access surveillance photos, physical description information, robbery details, and the FBI’s wanted poster for each suspect.”
The app even lets you select push notifications to be informed when a bank robbery has taken place near your location.
“Hey Mom! That Chase bank got robbed last month!”
“Aw gee that’s swell, honey.”
The INQUIRER has already had a little scroll through to test our sleuthing powers, and the chap above is our favourite so far, although we of course hope that he is brought to justice swiftly.
The 9.6MB app is already on version 1.1 and requires iOS 7.1 or above to work. There are currently no reviews on the App Store.
The Google Play version is 12MB and requires Android 4.0 or above. It has also received a minor update in the first few days of launch, and has had between 100-500 installations with an average rating of 4.2.
We suppose we should acknowledge that the FBI’s move to put such information into the hands of smartphone users is quite a good idea, given how much time we spend on them, and could well bring down a few modern day Bonnies and Clydes.