Is social media helping or harming police work?
Thursday, May 18, 2017
We can no longer think of life without instant connectivity and social media. A vast majority of us spend a good portion of our days online, for personal as well as professional needs.
Social media is an intrinsic part of our online lives and has become an important channel of communication. For law enforcement agencies, social content now plays an important role in solving and preventing crimes.
Police departments across the country have been quick to adopt social media strategies and use them to educate the public. However, it is the arena of crime investigation that social media is proving to be most useful.
An increasing number of law enforcement agencies are tracking the social media posts of their suspects, often succeeding in apprehending them within hours. The medium has also proven to be extremely useful for widespread communications like all-points bulletins targeting specific individuals and Amber Alerts. Tips filter in almost immediately, often making a big difference in a matter of life or death.
Social networking has become an essential component for solving crimes, and experts in the field have become sought-after as well.
In the ever-evolving world of technology and social media, keeping crime under control is a tougher task. People find new ways to commit crimes and hide them. Crime investigators and their tech experts are constantly working to stay on top of it.
Departments across the country acknowledge that they have to invest more time and resources to learn and master all of the social media platforms. Unless they do so, they will always lag behind the criminals in this regard.
Social media has opened up new tools and avenues for the officers of the law. Online presence offers them new tips and helps them gain insights into crimes committed in their communities.
Recent instances of crimes committed over Facebook Live provide a perfect excellent example. Heinous and shocking as they were, these Facebook Live videos have also helped the police catch criminals in record time.
Law enforcement officials can now gather valuable intelligence on suspected criminals, gauge their mentality and even intentions at times by monitoring their posts. Sometimes, it's the suspect's pictures or videos posted on sites like YouTube and Facebook. At other times, it could be them bragging about what they did on social media and their "friends" turning them in for their deviant behavior.
In an age in which the police are more vilified than venerated, social media has been a big boon when it comes to rebuilding community relations. Law enforcement agencies are now using their local social pages to promote events and developments in the department, set up neighborhood watches, introduce new members, etc. It is a great way to connect with the community and members from all ages.
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