NYPD Patrols Facebook, Twitter For Idiots Who Post About Their CrimesBy: Josh Wolford - August 10, 2011
Alright, so I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m notoriously hard on people who advertise their crimes on social media outlets. Let’s just say this isn’t the first time I’ve used “idiot” in the title of an article about one of these geniuses – these giants among men, trailblazing a path toward something our founding fathers could have never dreamed of: self-incrimination by Tweet.
And it seems like the occurrences of this alarming trend are becoming more and more frequent. Remember that guy who decided to live-update his activities during the Vancouver riots? He posted on Facebook things like “threw a jersey on a burning cop car” and “burnt some smart cars.”
A speaking of rioters, examples of clueless social media users in London have been rolling in by the minute it seems. One guy posted a photo of all his loot on Facebook. The photo even included Einstein himself, smiling in the background. And yesterday Redditors found this woman, scholar of the Queen’s English, Tweeting about her looting successes: “Got tones of stuff todayyyyy!!!!!!!!! #LondonRiots whop whop.”
Apparently the fact that social media is becoming an investigatory goldmine isn’t lost on the New York Police Department. According to NY Daily News, the NYPD has formed a brand new unit devoted entirely to tracking crime on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
The unit will work to identify crimes both before they occur and after by searching for those who “announce plans or brag about their crimes” on the sites.
The man running the unit is Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, a 23-year vet who is one of the NYPD’s big time gang guys. He is also known for stings involving online sexual predators.
New York is definitely no stranger to criminals failing on Facebook. Last month we told you about the man who taunted the police via Facebook and was eventually captured. Utica police reported that he posted “Catch me if you can, I’m in Brooklyn” as a status update and was subsequently caught in an apartment…in Brooklyn.
Facebook and Twitter have already proven valuable to the NYPD. After a man was beaten to death in an anti-gay hate crime at a house party, one of the perps bragged about it on Facebook. He’s now in jail. This incident put “house party monitoring” to the forefront of the NYPD’s tactics.
The NY Daily also reports that a feud over diapers played out on Facebook, leading to the stabbing death of a 22-year-old woman in Brooklyn.
It’s interesting to see law enforcement understanding truisms of the interwebs, like, people are oversharers. They’re going to talk about anything and everything, without discretion. I’m sure many departments across the country will be forming their own social media units in due time.