Digital Marketing and Social Media Strategy

Freeze @Criminal! This Is The @Police!

Photo by regolare

Back in November, 2007, I wrote a post about seeing Twitter featured on CSI. It was pretty interesting, because the detectives were scrolling through a victim’s tweets to try to find their assailant. I think that was the first mainstream media mention of our beloved little blue bird (do you know of one earlier?).

Twitter is becoming extremely popular with over 1,200% growth in the last year. When Twitter becomes a household form of communication, I wonder how long it will be before crimes are actually solved on it.

In the mean time, it’s interesting to watch police agencies use Twitter for their own purposes. In an article from the Associated Press, Be on the lookout for new police tool, aka Twitter, they write:

Since the fall, the FBI — “FBIPressOffice” on Twitter — has accumulated more than 2,000 followers, including people in at least 150 public safety agencies. Special Agent Jason Pack tweets about job fairs, computer worms, fugitives and missing children. During the presidential inauguration the FBI used the account to update information on checkpoints and subway stations that were closed in Washington.

The article adds:

Police are tweeting all over, from Canada to such U.S. cities as Boston, Baltimore, Richmond, Va., Boulder, Colo., Dalton, Ga., and Mount Pleasant, S.C. Fire departments do it in Napa, Calif., Charlotte, N.C., Trenton, Mo., Mesa, Ariz., and Oradell, N.J.

It concludes that police still don’t depend on Twitter as a serious crime fighting tool, but they are seeing good uses for it to enhance their communication and public relations initiatives.

I suppose it’s only a matter of time before actual crimes begin to get solved using Twitter. For now we can still use YouTube for that. <— you should read this.

Do you know of any Twitter crime fighting examples?

Photo by: regolare


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  • My issue though with this is that when people report crimes are they telling the truth? I hope so.

    Last year, I remember there was an incident over on tweet secret or secret tweet where someone tweeted that they were being molested (a young kid supposedly tweeted this) and so many individuals were trying to figure out how to get to this child. Tweet Secret said they could only find the IP address of the person who tweeted that incident but they could not reveal any other information about this.

    It made me wonder then how could the police use twitter effectively as a web tool? If people are going to lie about situations (which is a lot) how to we take a person's tweet seriously if they are honestly being hurt or in danger. I hate questioning this but it does make you wonder. I don't know then if taking a picture or video is necessary to help document your situation? But how can you take a picture of yourself being assaulted or raped? Or maybe try to get a picture of the assailant? But you have to be crafty in doing that.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Some really valid points. The article did address this too, that some fakes
    could occur. It mentioned a fake police department on Twitter too. This
    could cause some mass confusion.