How Social Media Is Changing Law Enforcement


Author: Wayne Hanson
Coverage Type: analysis

Public safety is a bit more sophisticated, and methods of communication much faster. Law enforcement tools have evolved from wanted posters to police radio, patrol cars and social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Community policing today has also expanded through social networking to locate missing children, alert neighbors of suspicious activity and even inform the public about crimes committed in their neighborhoods. But social networking is a tool that cuts both ways. Flash mobs organized online in Philadelphia swarmed stores to shoplift and attack pedestrians; pedophiles use social networking platforms to share photos and video; and terrorists recruit members and plan attacks via these tools. Even the courts have been affected. Jurors have disregarded instructions and have conducted online research, shared their opinions on Twitter from the jury box, and even posted biased comments on their Facebook pages.

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