In the past, we have shared stories involving criminals who have posted pictures or made comments related to their crimes on various social media platforms. These instances are obviously not smart, and they have led to these criminals being caught and taken into custody. This is the kind of criminal behavior that drives a criminal defense attorney crazy.
Now that pretty much everyone has at least one social media account, and many people use multiple forms of social media, it has become a standard practice for law enforcement officials, prosecutors and attorneys to check social media profiles of accused criminals.
Burglary Arrests Up Thanks to Facebook
While waiting around for accused burglars to admit to crimes on social media is an easy way to catch criminals, it may also never happen. That’s why police in Austin, Texas have decided to take a more proactive approach to solving crimes through social media. Law enforcement officials have sett up a Facebook page in an attempt to reach out to the public and get tips.
The Facebook profile is currently being operated by a burglary task force within the police department. The page often shares pictures of items stolen during recent burglaries and shares images and descriptions of potential suspects. Operators make sure to include telephone numbers in each post, ensuring that potential tipsters don’t have to reveal their identities on the social network, a key when asking the public to come forward with information. The public is being asked to contact the police by commenting on the page or sending a private message if they have any information regarding the crime..
This approach has served the task force well thus far. A few years ago, the burglary task force was solving just 5% of all burglaries in the area. Now, thanks to initiatives like creating their own Facebook page, they have doubled that figure. And while responses to Facebook posts don’t always lead to the suspect being arrested or a burglary conviction, it has led to many victims being reuniting with their stolen property.
Be Smart on Social Media
Law enforcement’s proactive approach to social media is just a supplemental investigatory tool and by no means is a substitute for good old fashioned police work. However, police in Austin aren’t the only ones using social media to detain potential suspects. Even if a task force is not set up for a particular police department, it does not mean that they are not viewing your activity on social media. That is why it is extremely important to be smart when using social networking sites. Just like you wouldn’t speak with police without an attorney present during a criminal investigation, you should not post public comments regarding a potential crime, even if you think your social media account is private.
If you are being investigated for a crime, the first thing you should do is speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Your skilled attorney can review the facts of the case and plan a defense strategy that will help you achieve the best possible outcome. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable attorneys have been successfully defending our clients accused of crimes for over 30 years. We have helped thousands of clients, and we can help you, too.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.