Last fall our sister division in LexisNexis Risk Solutions released a study – and an infographic — that might be of interest to our law firm clients practicing criminal defense law. It’s this week’s Friday Share.
The study – a survey of 496 law enforcement officials conducted through the online community PoliceOne.com – found that while social media is an increasingly important factor in investigations, most officials or processes are self-taught.
According to the report, titled, Law Enforcement’s Usage of Social Media for Investigations, and which is free to download as a PDF without registration:
Law enforcement professionals throughout the U.S. are increasingly turning to modern technology, including social media, to aid in carrying out their public safety mission, with a primary goal of preventing and investigating crime.
The frequency of social media use by law enforcement, while already high, is projected to rise even further in the coming years. Yet, few agencies have adopted formal training, policies or have dedicated staff in place, resulting in barriers to consistent and broad application throughout all of law enforcement.
How Law Enforcement Uses Social Media
According to the survey, usage in law enforcement circles centers on three primary areas: crime prevention, completing investigations and public communications. An infographic based on the survey results is posted below and here are some of the statistics that jumped out for us:
- 82% agree that social media is a valuable tool in investigating crimes
- 67% say social media is a valuable tool for anticipating crimes
- 80% say creating profiles on social media is ethical for law enforcement activities
- 73% believe using social media helps solve crimes faster; up six percent from 2012
- 71% of respondents say their social media knowledge was self-taught
- 67% think info obtained on social media helps complete investigations more quickly
- 40% use it to monitor special events
- 34% use it to notify the public of crimes – up 11% from 2012
The complete study includes anecdotes and examples – true stories in crime fighting – and is well worth a read.
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