Social Media Use in Law Enforcement

Police Turn to Social Media to Fight Crime, Dispel Rumors


When I first read the title of this article, “Police Turn to Social Media to Fight Crime, Dispel Rumors”, I was captivated by it due to the recent banning of social media websites in countries such as Turkey and Ukraine. The prime ministers of these countries are banning social media for a period of time with an attempt to have a successful campaign. However, it appears that social media has been useful in law enforcement. With the changing of times and an increase usage of technology and resources, even police officers are turning to social media for help.

Missing Fb Wall postSocial media has been connecting people in unimaginable ways. The Oakland Police Department is using social media to contact and update the people in the area. This is a great way to reach out to the public and even gather information from the citizens in their counties. I found it interesting, as stated in the article, that a social media survey from the International Association of Chiefs of Police found 80% of police officers have stated that social media has helped them solve more crimes. I’m not surprised to hear that Facebook is the most popular platform, since many have found an interest in sharing these stories of the local issues that occur in their hometowns as a Facebook wall post. This is a way of spreading news on social media, which has helped the local police.

Recently, I’ve personally witnessed Social Media helping find a missing person in my hometown. His family spotted the missing Greece man on the cover of USA Today newspaper. His sister automatically tweeted the lady stating that the picture of the story that she had published was a photo of her missing brother. She responded back willing to reach out to the photographer who took the photo. He was eventually found later that day in Washington, D.C.

Some people argue the negatives of social media in this context. Sometimes it can spread rumors and lead to false information. Do you think that it’s appropriate to utilize social media in these types of situations? Are the local police departments doing the right thing by updating the citizens on crimes through social media?

4 thoughts on “Social Media Use in Law Enforcement

  1. I think the use of social media for situations is a good thing. It spreads the news faster and gets more people involved for the cause. The share/retweet/reblog button on these social media web sites help to share more stories to a wider audience. This will get the story to more viewers and move people involved in the cause. This can help in disasters, finding missing children or fighting for a cause that needs to be fought for.

  2. I think it’s a good idea that law enforcement would tap into such a good resource to help them do their jobs more efficiently. I feel like it is more cost effective to do online research than to beat the street if the information is right online.
    I wonder what the implications are for social media sites like Facebook working together with law enforcement to customize some of the powerful technology specifically for them. For example Facebook has facial recognition technology that could be a really great tool to further develop and integrate specifically for law enforcement to find missing people.

  3. I believe people should know what is going on. Even if social media can spread rumors it can also help. Just like the guy being found because of social media. I think the people who are not allowed to communicate should be able to know what is going on.

  4. Since people spend more time on social media, I believe that it is beneficial to take in the use of social media. This helps spread information, and since it is something that is viewed quite often it aids rather than if they were to do a news report, or whatnot as that is specific to time; etc. Quite smart to actually embrace social media to aid in situations as mentioned in the article.

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