While you are posting what you ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between – not to mention selfies every hour – there are those who use social media for something more beneficial. No, I am not talking about social media marketing, which certainly has its benefits, but what I mean is a concern that affects the society as a whole.
I’m referring to law enforcement agencies which are turning to social media to help them do their jobs better.
While the crime rate in the U.S. has declined significantly since the 1990s, more criminal acts are being exposed these days due to the medium which news is spread.
But before criminal cases can be brought to court, there are the front-liners who do the legwork: the law enforcers who need to track down criminals to bring them to justice.
There is always the good old detective ways and means, but in this “social” age, law enforcers are adapting to what technology has to offer. Using social networking sites, they have been able to make their work easier.
How do law enforcers use social media to aid their work?
They use social media platforms to get and spread information. They also use social media platforms to track down criminals as well as evidence of crimes.
In North Carolina, most sheriff and police departments are using social media to solve crimes. For example, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office posts information about unsolved crimes regularly on their Twitter account. They include photos that can facilitate in catching criminals.
The Greensboro Police goes one step further by checking an arrested person’s social media profiles to see if there is any evidence that can support the case against that person.
This works both ways: on the other hand, a criminal lawyer can also use social media to find evidence to support his client’s case,
The Eau Claire Police Department has its own experiences with social media and crime solving. They even have what is called “Wanted Wednesday” where they post a photo and information about a person with an arrest warrant. In six weeks they were able to make five arrests.
Additionally, many police departments, including campus police, are using LiveSafe, a free app that makes it easier for victims or potential victims of crime to report incidents.
Using text, picture, video, or audio, one can communicate directly with law enforcers during an emergency.
Social responsibility at work
Law enforcement agencies are embracing social media as a tool to solve crime, but it’s not just them that’s taking on this social responsibility.
This week, on January 13 – which is National AMBER Alert Awareness Day, Emily Vacher (Facebook’s Trust and Safety Manager) announced that they will be solidly supporting the agency. As psfk reports, Facebook will “support location-targeted alerts from the agency”.
With 1.35 billion active users monthly, Facebook can make a difference to the lives of missing children and their families. By taking concrete measures such as this, the social networking site is helping solve crime in its own way.
Learn more about the agency by visiting – and liking! – AMBER Alert on Facebook.
We breathe and live social media. It’s not only part of our personal lives, but also our work. Perhaps it’s time to look beyond those two aspects and see how social media can also be used to help others. Have you had any experience with social media and reporting/solving crime?