Use of Viral Photos and Videos to Catch SuspectsNational Police Training
December 5, 2012 — 1,519 views
Use of Viral Photos and Videos to Catch Suspects
People tend not to like the idea of constant surveillance in public areas, but even if the venue does not have cameras monitoring the activities of those who are there, the world has become so digital that individual cameras and cell phones now do the job. Police may not be able to get footage from a stadium or concert hall without a warrant but all they need to do is keep an eye on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, and chances are that if a crime occurred in a public place, someone caught it on camera.
All police need to do is search for items related to the area where the suspicious activity took place. Of course, the more people they have to help, the more quickly they will catch suspects. If they put an alert out for people who attended a certain event to post pictures, they may meet with success right away. They can also ask people to keep their eyes out for photos and videos relating to this venue so that they can investigate them.
Another way that police can use this method to help them track suspects is to encourage people to take lots of photos and videos at these events. The more people provide their own surveillance, the better the chances are that someone will catch something on camera that will show exactly who committed a particular crime. Cross-referencing photographs will provide even more compelling evidence as to the identity of a thief, instigator or other criminal.
Of course, this does become problematic when it comes to privacy laws. Technology has advanced to the point that it is truly difficult for anyone to maintain privacy from the public or the government. The police should not become like Big Brother, but they should be able to use the resources available to them if they have reason to be concerned about a particular event or individual.
One way that ordinary citizens can help is by clearly marking where photographs were taken and posting them to the page for that venue, provided that one exists. The more photos and videos are in one centralized location, the easier it will be to go through them. While this may seem like an unconventional way to catch a criminal, it is becoming increasingly common in a world in which the lines between reality and virtual reality are increasingly blurred.