One way to make police and crimefighting work easier is to use social networking tools. Not only do crime fighters use sites such as FaceBook and Twitter to catch criminals, they use them for camaraderie and families of crimefighters use them for solace and support. The following list of top 25 social media and networking sites for cops and crimefighters provides a resource for social media perfection.
This list is divided into categories, including a category filled with tools to learn how to use social media sites. These instructions are geared specifically to crimefighting activities on the Internet. Each link within the categories is listed in alphabetical order, and the links lead straight to the sites where you can learn more.
Not only are police and crimefighters using the following tools to build a presence, they turn to them to find clues about recent crimes.
- Blogger: Create a blog in minutes with this tool provided by Google. Upload photos, pull information from other social network sites and more with this easy-to-use blogging format.
- Facebook: No matter if you use this tool as an individual or as an entire department, Facebook can provide you with essential tools to build community.
- FriendFeed: Set up a personal or public feed that can pull from all your social network sites. This site is useful if you have a number of blogs or social media sites that focus on various topics (abduction, cybercrime, local investigations, etc.). This feed provides a one-stop-shop for readers who want information from multiple sources. You also can post straight into FriendFeed.
- LinkedIn: Build a professional network on a local to a global basis — it’s up to you how wide you want to network. Great resource if you want to change locations, jobs or careers or if you’re trying to reach someone that may seem out of reach.
- Meetup: This site offers a chance for Twitter users and others to connect on a local and regional level through various activities and groups. You can find many police groups here connecting with local citizens who support police and crimefighting efforts.
- MySpace: This is another social networking site where you can develop a page and a presence.
- Posterous: This site is both a blog and a social networking tool. Set it up for yourself or for your department and use the feed in other places, such as Blogger (below under Blogs) or Friendfeed (above).
- Twitter: Boston Police are using Twitter (and Facebook) to help fight crime. Twitter has become an essential tool for breaking news, for communication and for community-building efforts.
- WordPress: This site is great for two reasons: first, you can create a free blog and not worry about upgrades, messing around with code and more — WordPress provides a free format that makes those choices easy for you; secondly, if you plan to create a separate site down the road, this venue can offer a way to learn how to use WordPress before you install it on a site (also free).
- YouTube: Use this site for a variety of needs, including news, instructions, crimefighting and building community. The Broward County, Florida’s Sheriff’s office uses this tool, with plenty of ideas on how to use this tool for your neighborhood.
The following groups were set up for camaraderie, information sharing and more. You also can set up a network at sites such as Ning.
- American Police Veterans: This organization is dedicated to the issues and needs of police veterans across the U.S. Register to safely use the site.
- Cops Online: This site launched in 1996, and is a group site by cops for cops. Cops Online now offers an expanded selection of interactive features like videos, blogs, forums, pictures and friend lists.
- Crimefighters International: This site includes police as well as other crimefighters who share information on a global level.
- Families of Police: This is a fraternal organization gathered together in a social network site. Membership is open to all family members of American law enforcement officers.
- Law Officer Connect: This is a professional and social network for law enforcement personnel and police. You can post videos and photos here and engage with others in your line of work.
- Police Pulse: This is a worldwide social networking group for police officers. It is separated into groups that include specific police departments or activities within a department, such as mounted police.
When you join groups such as Facebook or LinkedIn, you have access to various groups on those social media venues. The following list provides just a taste of what you can find at LinkedIn:
- John G. Brenner’s Crime and Major Case Investigations Group: This group is fairly specific on who can join, limited to sworn or former investigators from CIA, NSA, DEA, ATF, USMS, USSS, etc.
- Law Enforcement 2.0: The purpose of this LinkedIn group is to build a network of public safety professionals and web 2.0 experts to facilitate discussion about new social media and its application in law enforcement.
- Organized Retail Crime Investigators: Get involved with this network to share information about organized retail crime.
Social Media How-To for Cops & Crimefighters
Some tips and advice on how to make all the above work for you.
- ConnectedCOPS.net: The vision behind Connected COPS is to enhance law officers’ abilities to succeed with social media tools by providing insight, encouragement, education and the overall support required.
- Social Networking Online and Criminal Justice: This link leads to a resource page that contains links for a large number of social media resources for law enforcement. This page is offered by LLRX, the law and technology resource for legal professionals.
- Cops 2.0: This blog is about what social media means in the context of law enforcement and public safety. Learn practical ways to use social media tools through case studies, success stories and expert opinion..
- Social Media 5.0: How does law enforcement police social media? Social Media Five-O provides some answers to this question and to many other questions pertaining to how law enforcement agencies, government, and businesses can implement social media into their communication platform.
- Use of social network websites in investigations: This Wikipedia page is updated constantly with news about how the police and private investigators use social media to convict criminals. It also is a lead-in to show another social media tool – wikis. You can join Wikipedia or create a Wiki page that can be altered and updated constantly by users.
- Wired Safety: Tap into this interactive blog to learn more about Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying and Cyberabuse.