Social Media in Criminal Justice
There are many ways offenders can use social media from evading capture to committing crimes. The use of social media is prolific in our communities and has led to turmoil in my home city of Philadelphia. Below I’ll post a link for further detail into the subject. However, here is a brief synopsis, in Philadelphia, there have been rampant looting events citywide where individuals on social media organized large groups of individuals to create a large mob of people to steal from stores in order to fill the fallacy that they can’t catch us all. Social media can also be used by smart offenders to gather intelligence on potential victims or police activity to avoid capture or find their next victim.
On the plus side, there are many ways criminal justice professionals use social media to combat the above statements or to interact with their community. Departments can use social media as an outreach to the community to stay connected with them, promote their events, and highlight important information. These same departments also use social media as an intelligence-gathering tool to predict mass looting events like the one, I previously talked about or to find wanted individuals among many other activities.
The importance of these organizations being on social media in this day in age is invaluable. Without using these tools criminal justice professionals would not be effective in communicating with newer generations. This lack of communication could lead to a breakdown in community relations as well as hurt their recruiting numbers. Another importance is the intelligence-gathering side of social media where departments can employ different methods to obtain the goal of predictive policing or to simply find an individual. For example, the Philadelphia police department recently identified an individual who threatened a mother and child with a gun after breaking the rear window of their car.
Philadelphia’s Riot Fatigue | City Journal. (2023, October 2). City Journal. https://www.city-journal.org/article/riot-fatigue
Snyder, D., & Corrado, K. (2023, September 29). Looting in Philadelphia: How social media is playing a key role. CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/philadelphia/news/looting-in-philadelphia-social-media/
Man charged after allegedly holding Philadelphia woman at gunpoint. (2023, October 4). NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/philadelphia-motorcyclist-assault-attack-arrest-rcna118906
Social Media as a Crime Reduction Tool. (n.d.). https://cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/05-2018/Social_Media.html