In recent years, social media has been used by law enforcement to solve crimes. Usually, law enforcement will share pertinent information about a crime such as a suspect they are looking for or to alert people in the community of ongoing action to steer clear from. You may even see a map of a local area where a manhunt is active. Now, law enforcement continues to look at other ways to use social media to help them fight crime. Let’s take a look and how social media use among law enforcement has evolved and its benefits.
Pages Saw Low Visitors in the Beginning
Many social media pages started by local law enforcement had little traffic. The pages would share content such as birthday shout outs, good deeds done by local community members, and other special announcements. People, including law officials, didn’t think about using the page to solve crimes, but it was a tool many felt was useful when they want to share a concern in private. Nowadays, the pages turn into interactive versions of your favorite criminal drama. As more people followed the pages the content shared by officials also changed.
How Pages Became an Important Crime Fight Tool
Overtime, law officials receive tips and information about crimes that happened. People may feel a sense of urgency when law officials share crime stories on the page. Some shared on the page may not have been seen on local news stations. The idea of raising awareness at that point took off. Now, you can view videos and photos related to recent crimes. People in the area can share tips quickly without others knowing. The page itself can get more views than the number of people that live in the metropolitan area the police station serves. Information spreads quickly and crimes are more likely to get solved.
Useful Info Shared People May Not Know About
There are pros and cons for law officials to weigh when using social media for crime solving. Many people feel it is necessary to provide information to the public to raise awareness when safety is an issue. For example, police departments can post information related to active warrants. Some of the information is sensitive and the wanted suspect’s privacy could be a problem. Well, few taxpayers agree if it necessary to share such info online to get the bad guy then so be it. Some agree potential privacy concerns of the suspect are no longer a concern if they are wanted for a crime they shouldn’t have committed.
Law Enforcement Officials Make Good Points
Even if privacy concerns are raised about personal information of a suspect is shared, officials say suspects are less likely to be using their mobile devices while on the run. Some might learn about being wanted via a local news report, but many are less likely to check a social media page where their information is plastered for all to see. When a page has many followers information can be shared beyond that number. It also helps officials learn what forms of information they share are most helpful in collecting tips. There are call centers across the country with lower call volumes thanks to social media pages. Tips can be collected faster and in higher numbers through online media pages.
Other Good Things to Know
There is no telling how many people send their local police a nice message. Few officers mention they receive many messages of thanks from people in their community. Many of these are private messages with deep thoughts of compassion. It is obvious the use of social media in this way will be around for a long time.
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