By: Braeden Mincher, Social Media Manager
Whoever said social media was a bad thing? You rarely hear about the positive aspects social media can do for you and the community. It’s usually spun in a negative connotation because of “Facebook fights” or how online interaction is taking over traditional communication. But I’m here to tell you a different story.
Almost everyone is on some type of social media network and the police are taking note of this. A lot of people also share a little too much about themselves online, not realizing who is going to see it one day. Authorities can trace your history online just as easy as they can trace your fingerprints in a crime scene. Not only are authorities catching criminals, but they are also using it find missing people.
Social media is very beneficial to police and other government officials and here are 5 reasons why:
Putting pieces of the puzzle together: There have been multiple cases of gangs and suspects being caught using social media, specifically Facebook. Knowing whose friends with whom on social media can lead to a connection in crime. If authorities are dealing with a dumb criminal, it is not that hard to catch them. Police have caught scandalous actions with people being open about it on their online profiles; bragging about what they are going to do or have done. They have even found drug dealers by going to their profile and reading about where they sell and when.
Going undercover: Authorities often use false identities to create an online profile. By going undercover, they can try to convince suspects to 'friend' them on social media to look at their profile if it is set to private. It is believed that about 9 percent of all accounts on Facebook are fake identities, used for any reason. Although creating a fake profile is against Facebook’s terms of service, it is not illegal. Therefore, any evidence that is found this way can be used in a court hearing.
Emergency notifications: Many police stations and other government services now have a Facebook or Twitter account. Not only do these accounts warn citizens about the latest crime update, but it also helps spread the word about a missing child or a wanted suspect. The helpful social media citizens can either share or retweet a picture or story to help find that person. An emergency notification can also warn you not to be outside at a certain place, or to be careful when going somewhere.
No privacy violations: If you are not familiar with the Fourth Amendment, it “prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.” However, in the case of Colon who was an alleged gang member; his attorneys said that he was protected by this amendment when he openly posted key information on his Facebook profile. The judge disagreed with his attorneys saying that Colon willingly posted the information to his friends, which makes the information that the police gathered usable in the investigation.
Learning the ins and outs of social media: Unless you’re a new, young police officer you may not know everything there is to know about social media. Police are trying to catch up with all the latest social media trends. But what is difficult about this is that suspects are using social media too, which can expand their network across cities. The police are catching up quickly and efficiently.
Police 5 – Criminals 0.
As of August of 2012, 10 percent of law enforcement was on social media, that number is only expected to grow as social media becomes more crucial to finding evidence in investigations. Social media to the rescue!
Media Management Services Inc. offers a comprehensive program to help you effectively use social media. We believe that a successful social media campaign includes a solid strategy that includes audience engagement and interaction backed with state of the art analytics.