Using Social Media for Security Services
In today’s technology-driven world, access to social media can be a huge benefit to police departments. And across the country, many are using them to provide security services, such as quieting the rumor mill, catching criminals, improving customer relations, sending emergency alerts, finding sources, learning where victims have been and gathering intelligence. Police Chief John Hartman of Pittsburgh Southwest Regional said, “We literally employ social media in every case we do, one way or another.”
Who’s Using It?
A survey conducted of 600 police agencies by the International Association of Chiefs of Police determined that roughly 92 percent of agencies use social media. They use the sites everyone is using, like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, podcasts and YouTube. They also use sites like RAIDS Online, a site that logs crime stats by street, Nextdoor, which connects residents of a particular neighborhood and Nixle, a public notification tool.
Facebook, unsurprisingly, is the most popular platform, with about 92 percent of the police departments surveyed using it. It has been used to solve crimes when people, who see videos or pictures, send tips. In addition, they also discuss the latest crime issues and safety tips. They’ve also used it to access people’s profile information regarding crimes they’ve committed or are planning to commit. Many of those individuals are now serving time for crimes they posted pictures of or talked with friends about on Facebook. Once the information is posted, it’s considered public domain.
Twitter allows police departments to offer quick updates about emergencies, to quell rumors in high-profile cases and to keep followers in the loop.
YouTube and podcasts allow police departments to share video clips, which can included training scenes and voice updates.
Other Uses for Social Media
Social media isn’t only being used to stop crime. It’s also being used to familiarize the public with what a police officer’s life is like and even what’s going on in the department. When the public sees their officers’ achievements and get a better idea of who is protecting them, they see them as people it help build a better rapport.
What Does This Mean for the General Public?
Other security services provide the opportunity to be safer. We’ve always been able to help out if we see or recognize someone who’s committed a crime, but now we have the opportunity to spread the information swiftly and re-access it at any time with social media. Using social media is a huge boon for police departments around the nation. As they become more proficient, we could see more crimes solved faster or even prevented.