Facebook – the new tool for crime busters?

19 Oct 2009 (Mon)


  • A man saw a photo of himself posted on the city Police Department’s Facebook fan site in connection with a robbery he didn’t commit. He went to the police station to correct the problem, and the information he gave police led to the arrest of a 30-year-old man police said they believe is the real robber. — HomeTownAnnapolis.com, 18 October 2009
  • A 26-year-old fugitive was caught in Cancun, Mexico after he told his Facebook friends, including a former Justice Department official, that he was living in paradise there. — The Guardian, 14 October 2009
  • A 33-year-old clubber who attacked a man with a bottle has been jailed Portsmouth, UK, after his victim tracked him down using the Facebook social networking site. — BBC News, 08 October 2009
  • A 26-year-old burglar was caught in Rome, Italy because he logged onto Facebook during the break-in. — Telegraph, 03 October 2009
  • A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man was arraigned on a charge of daytime robbery in Berkeley County, USA because he used the victim’s computer to check his Facebook status during the robbery. — The Journal, 16 September 2009
  • [Feb 2010 update]:  The Singapore Police Force has a Police Appeal photo album entitled “Police Appeal: Do you know these people?” on Facebook. The photos were apparently added about nine months ago!

What about other social media?

“Boston police using Twitter and Facebook to track down bike thieves” — Mashable, 20th July 2009

“The next time you think about breaking and entering, you might want to consider that police departments are now savvy to social media and will use the power and reach of the web to catch you… the Los Angeles Police Department has just released surveillance video from a break-in that took place at Lindsay Lohan’s Hollywood Hills home on Sunday morning. Their method of conveyance— YouTube.” — Mashable, 26th August 2009

Recognize anyone in the video below?

See Also:


  • Facebook scammers latest trend in cyber thievery — Sunday Gazette Mail, 18th October 2009
  • Careless Facebook use can get you robbed too. — Mashable, 27th August 2009
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Posted by J.K. in *Roundups, Possibilities, Problems, Social Media | View Comments |

  • http://thedailyparr.com/mashable/posts-about-mashable-as-of-october-19-2009/ Posts about Mashable as of October 19, 2009 » The Daily Parr

    [...] from awesome Thanksgiving ride to Stanley Park. 3 pm is too late for lunch, too early for supper. Facebook – the new tool for crime busters? – clappingtrees.com 10/19/2009 IS FACEBOOK TURNING INTO A CRIME BUSTER’S FRIEND? A man saw [...]

  • http://firmmonster.com/ shammy

    facebook as a tool for crime. i think not, most people are just hooked into social networks that they forgot the crime they did or slipped because of checking social network sites.

  • http://www.behappy2day.com Single Maria

    Thanks for the post. Thats awful. Imagine if I saw a photo of myself posted on the city Police Department’s Facebook fan site in connection with a robbery I didn’t commit… Very funny(((((

  • http://www.mysobe.com Arlene

    Aside from meeting friends facebook is also a great help in solving crime, that’s a great news. Maybe the other social networks does the same way.

  • http://www.oakfurnitureland.co.uk/category/bookcases/ Paul Myers

    I think facebook should be left alone to function how it was meant to – to provide communication between friends, family and to allow business to provide information to customers. Surly using it as a way to stop crime takes away the fun, friendly atmosphere. Maybe a separate platform should be developed.

  • http://www.locksmithsmiami.com John

    That is kind of scary.

  • http://www.thebionicshrimp.com/ John Michael

    I thought I heard about this happening every once in awhile. But I didn’t realize it was happening on a weekly basis. Haha, I guess thieves and crooks need to wisen up a bit.

    After reading this I decided to install LoJack on my laptop, just in case.

  • http://www.alfredre.com Alfred

    Facebook may lead to crime busts, but some police abuse it too. I remember a few months ago, British police brought a SWAT team (including a helicopter) to break up a casual barbecue because Facebook led them to believe it was going to be some wild rave party.

  • http://www.freebieshark.com Jason

    i AGREE with John, it is kinda scary!!

  • http://www.gcdreview.com Amit

    Thanks a lot for your superb post.

  • http://healthcareprice.com/one-million-cologne-for-men-by-paco-rabanne/ Paco Rabanne

    You are right, social site, like Facebook can be new tool for crime busters. This video represents it. Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.pro-medics.com/zyban-generic/ Emmanuel

    Now as much as I would like to say that Facebook and other social networks should be left to their main purpose and not to be used for crime solving I really can’t do that…social networks like Facebook have become part of our daily lives…and as such are a good instrument for solving crimes, finding missing persons etc. and I believe that people should use whatever they can get their hands on if it solves crimes and helps people…the only thing is that I am afraid what will such sites turn into if…cause people come to the virtual world so they can feel more free than they do in the real world…and if they lose that extra sense of freedom..well I don’t think they’ll be coming back anymore…

  • http://www.bulkdrugapi.com soga168

    I do not think facebook as a tool for crime,this thinking way is simple.

  • http://www.discovergargano.com Alex Vieste

    I think so, facebook can be a good an useful tool for crime buster.

  • http://www.32seconds-media.com Iko

    Facebook is surely one of the biggest sites and possible criminal base for many criminals over the net. Your article hit the right point and I like it. I will continue reading your blog from time to time.

  • http://www.seoworkgroup.com/ Gaurav M

    Very funny, but may be it could happen. Everything wich is useful has it’s bad effects also. so as the facebook also have some disadvantages. The first & the foremost is that every one can see you and contact you in every part of the globe.

  • http://www.netcoachasia.com JK

    Check out this Police Appeal photo album by the Singapore Police Force: “Do you know these people?” on Facebook =)


  • http://www.dishnet-tvblog.synthasite.com Jay@ Dish TV Blog

    Wow! I never knew FB helped solve crimes. Maybe criminals should change their settings to private lol . It does make sense though, it is one of the top five websites and almost everybody has a Facebook account these days.

  • http://www.hvinvestigations.com Private Jane

    It’s crazy how in such a short time span, the uses of social networks has grown. Some simple tasks of finding people for clients in the past they can now do on their own. But just because you can see them on facebook, doesn’t mean they FBI can still find the person as easily. It’s deceptive.

  • http://www.comeshoppingnow.com/datingadvicebook/ Trevor D

    Most people just cannot help themselves when they get engrosed in Facebook. They think they are only talking to a friend and nobody else can see or read what they are saying.
    I don’t have a problem with anyone getting caught for something they have committed. It’s not a nice feeling when you wake in the morning and someone has been through your bedroom while you were asleep.

  • http://www.australiandetox.com Faizan

    The next time you think about breaking and entering, you might want to consider that police departments are now savvy to social media and will use the power and reach.

  • http://www.hsdtaxlaw.com/taxattorneylosangeles John

    Also, be aware that the IRS is using many social networks to find and contact people who are being audited. However, that does not mean that they are the ones contacting you through those sites, so be aware of phonies. I have an audit client here in LA that truly believes he was located through his social networking habits. This may be urban folklore, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

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