Everyone is familiar with social media networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, which have become outrageously popular around the world because of their capacity to connect people. Social media has become a mainstay in America and just about every other developed country and is seen by most people as a convenient and enjoyable means of staying in touch with friends and family, connecting with people from the past, and networking for business and employment opportunities.
But how many people are aware that social media has become the new favorite method among police detectives for solving crimes? The answer is probably not many. Detective across the country have been using social media for a few years now in increasing frequency as part of their investigations into unsolved crimes.
One police detective in the city of Oregon, Ohio recently earned the International Social Media Investigator award for her innovative and consistent use of social media in solving the cases to which she has been assigned. The award is presented by the private law enforcement website ConnectedCOPS.net which promotes the use of social media and other internet platforms by law enforcement officers in carrying out their investigative duties.
Detective Janet Zale was presented with the award last month during a ceremony that took place in Birmingham, England which she attended virtually via Skype. Detective Zale said that social media in particular and the internet in general are quickly becoming the go-to tools for crime investigation among detectives in the US and around the world.
As an example, Zale recounted a robbery case she had investigated that involved her going to one of the suspect’s Facebook page. She noticed in one of his photos that he had the same tattoo as was seen on the security video recording. And according to Zale, that’s “only the beginning” of what social media can do to help solve crimes.