Video is on the rise as an online marketing tool, and a way to share information on social media. From Facebook Live to Youtube to Vine, online videos are more popular than ever. For every good use, there are also those that use the technology for less than stellar purposes. These days people share everything online, sometimes even when they are committing a crime. Luckily, sometimes these overshares can help fight crime too. Mobile video is changing the way crime is committed and the way it is fought.
In January, attackers used Facebook Live to stream the torture of a man. Last year an Ohio woman live streamed her friend getting raped on Periscope (Twitter’s live streaming app). Even before live streaming became available, many have recorded crimes with their mobile devices and later posted the recordings online. For those with the desire to view it, there are plenty of videos of crime available. According to Facebook, they do not allow videos that glorify crime, however, they do allow videos that condemn violence or attempt to raise awareness. They rely on an algorithm to filter banned material, and they have team on call to respond to inappropriate video.
Many cities have added video recording devices to police officer uniforms in efforts to protect police officers and citizens alike. In some cities people can send photos and videos of crimes in progress to 911. Ideally videos would help catch criminals, but it hasn’t always worked that way. Police were able to arrest four people in connection with the Facebook Live torture, but in other cases, video evidence hasn’t always resulted in convictions. However, sometimes the pictures or videos can be a great help for law enforcement. In April 2013 photos taken after the Boston marathon bombing were able to help the investigation.
Mobile Phone Use in Investigations
Easy video access on mobile phones has really driven their popularity. Everyone has a handy video camera available to take a quick picture or video whenever needed. It allows people to share the minutiae of their daily life, but also help fight crime too. Just the cell phone in general has made a difference in crime investigation. Since almost everyone has a phone, and they contain a plethora of personal information, law enforcement officers find them valuable for investigating crimes. They can use information found in phones for leads, motives and evidence, such as:
- Call History
- Text Messages
- Web Browser History
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
People that witness crimes, can also take photos or videos that can help identify criminals and place them at the scene of the crime.
Mobile video is changing the way people share information and the way crime is committed. Live streaming has been used to commit crimes while also creating a record of the crime. Easy access to mobile video cameras also allows bystanders to capture crime in action and hopefully provide evidence that will ultimately lead to conviction. Much disgust has been expressed about bystanders that capture crime without doing something to stop it. Perhaps in the future, videos will continue to be a tool used to stop crime rather than share it. One thing is certain, mobile video has changed crime.