The Use of Social Media in Law Enforcement
We all know that social media has changed the way we do business, but did you know that law enforcers and researchers in criminal justice are also using social media to solve crimes and other issues?
Solving Crimes through Social Media
More and more people have online presences, so it makes sense for law enforcement to leverage social media tools to learn more about people. Police can use Facebook to track down suspect’s friends and find other tips. Detectives can read in between the lines of the suspect’s posts and get insight into their mentality or potential motives. They can also collect evidence from videos posted on YouTube. Law enforcement can even access emails without a warrant if the messages they want to read are more than 180 days old. If you’re concerned about your Fourth Amendment rights, an experienced attorney can answer any specific concerns.
Helping those in Need
Police do more than just track down criminals; they can help find distressed, missing, and endangered individuals. They can analyze their social media interactions, such as what they “like” and who they are talking to, for insight on their intentions. It’s also possible that location tracking is still activated on their smart phone and that their social media posts give away their location.
Reaching out to the community
Building trust in the community is crucial to law enforcement effectiveness. Police often create social media accounts to facilitate and inform their communities. It’s a fast, affordable, accessible way for concerned citizens to receive updates about suspected criminals or missing children.
Social media can also be used to humanize law enforcement, painting a picture that officers are also a part of the community they serve. Many accounts list the accomplishments of their officers and offer safety tips on a regular basis.
To maintain trust in their communities and effectively solve crimes, law enforcement agencies seek out top recruits with solid reputations. They conduct thorough background checks on candidates, but may also check their Facebook to learn about their character and disqualify those who have engaged in illegal or embarrassing activities.
Sharing Law Enforcement Tactics
Law enforcers can also share techniques and best practices with other professionals through social networking sites like LinkedIn. This sort of discussion between colleagues leads to improved services within our communities.
We must remember that social media is not just a tool for businesses to connect with customers. At the end of the day, it’s a medium to create a sense of community and deliver valuable information to the people that matter most. Law enforcement has been able to leverage social media to make their lives easier and our lives better. How will you add value for your audience through social media?