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Social Media And Crime

July 2012---Social Media And Crime

I must confess that I have never been a huge fan of social media. I have been "forced" into using certain forms of social media to communicate with people that may not otherwise receive the message. I know that I am in the minority and many people truly enjoy social media......people such as burglars, thieves and drama queens (and kings).

During the past few years I have perused hundreds of Facebook walls, posts and profiles. I have seen numerous funny 50's style e cards, pictures of many cute kids and posts of all sorts. A lot of really good stuff on there. However; what strikes me the most are all the posts where people announce to the world they are going away on vacation for two weeks. Or the posts where people show the latest greatest high dollar item they have purchased. Such as their new 52 inch flat screen. Or even better yet, posts of large piles of cash as detailed in a recent news story out of Australia, which led to a home invasion in search of the money.

It's akin to throwing bloody meat into shark infested waters.

Do some people believe that criminals do not pay attention to social media. They do. Crooks are happy that you are advertising your vacation as well. Their happiness is a bit different than the happiness your friends have for you. They enjoy the fact that people tell them when their house will be empty and for how long. They also get a kick out of knowing where that 52 inch flat screen is. Makes it much easier than randomly burglarizing houses, hoping to find one.

Burglars also enjoy the "check in" feature on Facebook. You know, the one where you post your current location and again let the world know you are not at home.

Another negative aspect of social media is the way people use it to create drama, start fights and stir the pot. I can recall a number of reports my officers have written regarding assaults, telephone harassment, menacing, stalking etc. Incidents that have been started, or have been perpetrated on Facebook, but spill over into the real world. Nasty words on Facebook that turn to bloody punches in person.

I hope people will learn to think with the mind of a burglar or thief before posting on Facebook. I also hope they learn that speaking ill of another human being from behind the safety of your computer screen, just may spill over into real life. With real consequences.

This is not the fault of Facebook or other social media. Social media has many legit applications. This is the fault of the users who are uneducated in the realm of crime prevention or too well educated in the realm of creating drama.

I am not picking on Facebook. I used this site for illustrative purposes. I could have just as easily used Twitter, Topix etc etc etc.

Do you need to quickly go from novice to "expert" in the world of drugs? www.chiefteach.com is the answer.  

Chief Kyle J. Fittro

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