This is a guest post by Mandy Miller. Follow her on Twitter at@MandyMayM.
Remember when they used to tell us in grade school that we could all help stop crime? Although we’re big kids now, that still holds true. However now authorities and victim’s of theft are taking to the streets of social media to hook crooks. While a very hyper-local story to Boston, Boloco’s use of social media to gain leads in making arrests for a robbery that occurred on January 28th at their 1084 Boylston Street location has made the headlines and speaks to the power of social networks in law enforcment.
Posted to their YouTube and Facebook pages, Boloco is hoping that citizens will view the security tape and recognize the culprits that broke into to the location in the early morning hours Saturday morning, making off with the establishment’s safe. Since Saturday, the original Facebook post has received over 60 comments and the YouTube video has been watched over 5,300 times. There is also a nice cash reward for watching and reporting. A $1,000 reward is up for the tipster that lands these criminals behind bars.
To me, this brings about an entirely new age of tipsters for crime. Although your identify isn’t completely hidden if you are making public comments on these pages, this avenue for soliciting ‘anonymous’ tips from the public is genius to me. It also has me wondering what other ways law enforcement could use this avenue for stopping crime. We all remember the glory days of America’s Most Wanted, featuring horrible criminal stories to homes via network TV, but I believe social media takes it beyond that as you’re delivering a message and providing an opportunity for tip submission in the same medium. You’re also driving on a social networking site – keyword being network. You’re likely to share with your networks and your networks will then share on. Crime can literally then go viral – in a good way.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe that this treads on anonymous tips and the safety of tipsters, or do you feel that this is the start of a new age of stopping crime via social networks?