FBI New York and Clear Channel Outdoor Unveil Digital Billboard in Times Square
|FBI New York January 15, 2010|
Today, the FBI’s New York Office, in partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor (CCO), unveiled a digital billboard in Times Square slated to highlight wanted fugitives, missing persons and high-priority security messages. The billboard is part of a nationwide initiative made possible through a partnership with Clear Channel Outdoor, an advertising company that’s providing the space as a public service, which will enable the FBI to highlight those individuals who we’re looking for the most in a given area: violent criminals, kidnap victims, missing kids, bank robbers, and more. With the service provided by Clear Channel, we will be able to feature these individuals and messages quickly—right after a crime is committed.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) Belle Chen from the FBI New York Office’s Crimal Division and Clear Channel Outdoor - Spectacolor Division President and General Manager Harry Coghlan were present for today’s ceremony and were interviewed by the Today Show on NBC, in addition to other local media outlets.
Clear Channel Outdoor and FBI Philadelphia established a relationship stemming from the participation of a Clear Channel executive in an FBI Citizen’s Academy Class. Through efforts of that executive, CCO offered the use of digital billboards in their Philadelphia market to the FBI during October 2007. FBI Philadelphia used that resource to publicize fugitives from crimes and that publicity led to the apprehension of two fugitives.
FBI Philadelphia and CCO then decided to explore the possibility of taking this valuable partnership to a national level. That plan was based on CCO making digital outdoor networks across the country available, without charge, to assist FBI efforts to capture fugitives and provide important law enforcement messages to the traveling public. The initiative was made official on 12/24/2007.
In only a few months of operation, a number of fugitives from multiple cities across the country were apprehended as a direct result of tips received from these billboards. Following the success of this effort, other digital billboard companies have signed similar partnership agreements with the FBI.
Clear Channel Outdoor - Spectacolor Division President and General Manager Harry Coghlan said, “When the FBI asked us to expand our billboard program to Times Square, we agreed immediately. This important initiative will now reach the thousands of people who pass through Times Square each day. We look forward to building on the fugitives captured to date.”
The FBI currently has access to more than 1,500 billboards in more than 40 states through this initiative. We have profiled more than 250 cases altogether. At least 30 cases have been solved as a direct result of digital billboard publicity, with many more cases solved as a result of an overall publicity effort. About 40 of our field offices are participating in this initiative using the billboards of several companies. Over 430 Clear Channel digital displays in 33 U.S. Cities have the potential to be utilized by the FBI at any given time, and we have tremendous assistance from other companies throughout the country.
ASAC Belle Chen said, “With a Clear Channel billboard right in the middle of Times Square, we now have the ability to reach thousands of people a day with our message. The process is simple, if you see something on our billboard and have a tip, pickup the phone and call. This program has proven successful throughout the country and the FBI Office in New York is happy to be on board.”
The FBI New York Office’s Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC) Joseph M. Demarest added, “With millions of people passing through Times Square every year, there is no better way to draw attention to our most wanted fugitives than through this billboard initiative. Our partnership with Clear Channel has proven to be tremendously successful throughout the nation, and I am fully confident that the Times Square billboard will enhance the success of this project exponentially. I encourage everyone to pickup the phone and call the FBI with critical tips and information so that we may all work together in making our city safer.”
Special Agent Richard Kolko, spokesman for the FBI in New York said, “The partnership that exists between Clear Channel Outdoor and the FBI is a great example of the FBI Citizens’ Academy’s support of our overall mission. Its because of contributions from members of the Academy that we are here today.”
For more information on the FBI’s Citizens’ Academy please visit: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/ood/opca/outreach/academy.htm