Emerging Crime-fighting Tool For Police
Emerging Crime-fighting Tool For Police, Law enforcement agencies are now heavily relying on a social media service for real-time alerts. Police embrace emerging social media tool, Minutes after a shooting near the Oakland Airport this year, the gunman was on the loose. And police Sgt. Chris Bolton quickly fired off a flurry of text alerts to thousands of nearby residents through a social media tool for law enforcement agencies.
“Stay out of area,” said one alert. “Multiple shooting victims reported. Medical on-scene. Police are evacuating a nearby, affected business.”
Officers would eventually discover a grisly scene inside a tiny Christian college on that spring day. Seven people were killed, three others wounded and dozens terrified in the deadliest mass shooting in the city’s history.
Bolton later gave those on edge an update: “Possible suspect in custody. No imminent public safety threat appears to exist in immediate area.”
Across the country, law officers are adding a new form of social media to their arsenal of crime fighting tools.
Almost 6,000 law enforcement agencies are now deploying the public notification service Nixle to provide residents with real-time alerts on crimes in progress, traffic messes and missing children. Previously, the service has helped police in Amarillo, Texas, capture a fugitive wanted for aggravated robbery and probation violation; and authorities in Fayetteville, N.C., nabbed a suspect wanted for armed robbery soon after a Nixle alert was sent to residents.
With the San Francisco-based service approaching 1 million subscribers, with police departments participating in major cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Dallas, it is part of what one expert calls a new “blue wave” of electronic community policing that lets cops reach out directly to the public.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police recently found in a survey of 800 law enforcement agencies that nearly nine out of 10 use some form of social media and more than half reported that social media have helped solve crimes.