March 8, 2013
We regularly hear about how sharing information online can make us vulnerable to online identity theft among other crimes. With an estimated one-seventh of the world’s population on Facebook, we are continuously sharing our personal details online and making ourselves more susceptible to criminals. According to this article by Jane Susskind in the U.K, criminal activity linked to Twitter and Facebook has increased by 780 percent since 2008, you can read more here. However, for all the harm social media can potentially put us in, there are ever increasing ways that it is being used to keep us safe. There are an increasing number of police agencies that are using social media to combat crime. This infographic by Policeone.com looks at just how US police are using social media.
The hyper-local nature of social networking allows for police to interact with the public in a positive way and appeal for information on investigations and local crimes. It also allows for police to distribute preventative crime tips and to play a more active part in their communities, as social media calls for a more informal tone which enables the police to display a more “human side”.
Although not all policing topics would be seen as appropriate to highlight across public platforms, the web is littered with stories about how social media has aided the police in capturing criminals from tips given from members within its online communities. With all UK forces engaged with social networking to some extent, the trend in using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to solve crime looks likely to continue.