In the age of digital immediacy and open-ended communication on the web, the trend seems to be shifting from monotonous sketches to a need for surveillance video and high definition photographs to aid police in their investigations.
The 112th Precinct Community Council just unveiled its new Facebook page to begin open communication with their precinct.
If we plan to find out assailants based on a penciled drawing from the fogged memory of a recently attacked cab driver or child, it has been proven time and time again that cases like these get thrown to the wayside.
In cases like the Boston Marathon bombings, a national case with military and FBI involvement, it was open and shut in just days because of the transparency of the available information and utilization of social media outlets.
Police should begin to work more openly and closely with their communities on sites like Facebook and Twitter and turn these social media outlets into the milk carton, once a forum to aid in finding missing children.
In addition to posting photos of suspects, it is important to attempt to actually capture the individuals using social media.
If an individual in a community such as South Ozone Park, where many people know one another by either name or face, social media will help to crack the case faster than ever before. Posting a surveillance photo or video of a suspect allows those who either know, or know of, the individual a clear picture to spread viral across twitter and civic pages.
For instance, it was only when the surveillance photos of the Boston Marathon bomber made it to national television that his roommates went to discard any evidence of terrorist activities.
They knew that it was only a matter of time until he was found due to the photo being released to the public. They acted fast because they knew it wouldn’t be a long before they were caught.