Monday, May 17, 2010

6 Ways Law Enforcement Uses Social Media to Fight Crime

From felons on Facebook to tips through Twitter, social media is being used more and more by law enforcement agencies, and not just to fight Internet (Internet)-related crimes. We’re talking about solving crimes that are happening on the street and in your community. According to Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwS Communications and organizer of the SMILE (Social Media In Law Enforcement) Conference being held in Washington D.C. this April, adoption of social media is still in the “very, very, early stages,” but she sees it making an upward turn. “I expect 2010 will be a monumental year,” she said.

But many police departments that have embraced social media are still trying to figure it out. “Most agencies … are not significantly proactive with keeping up with content and updates,” said Terry Halsch from, developers of the tip411 system for police agencies. “There are some limitations because of uncertainty of how secure information is, how can it be efficiently maintained, and the risks and liabilities of entering the world of social media.”

Below are six different ways law enforcement is utilizing social media and real-time search to enhance tactics, disseminate public information, and ultimately prevent criminal activity:

  1. Police Blotter Blogs
  2. The Digital "Wanted Poster"
  3. Anonymous E-Tipsters
  4. Social Media Stakeout
  5. Thwarting Thus in the Social Space
  6. Tracking and informing with Twitter
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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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