NYPD Forms New Unit To Monitor Facebook And Twitter For Signs Of Criminal Activity

Be careful the next time you’re planning a bank heist on Facebook or send out a Tweet that reads “there were only supposed to be two alarm systems wtf???” As we’ve already reported, cops around the country have begun using social media to track down criminals, and now comes the news that the New York City Police Department has actually created a unit that monitors Facebook updates, Twitter feeds and the like to detect the planning of, or bragging about, illegal goings-on.

From the NY Daily News:

Newly named Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, one of the department’s online and gang gurus, has been put in charge of the new juvenile justice unit. He and his staff will mine social media, looking for info about troublesome house parties, gang showdowns and other potential mayhem, sources said.

It appears the NYPD is looking at Facebook the way police used to view CB radio: It’s mostly harmless, useless banter, but every once in a while you’re going to hear about some modern-day Burt Reynolds escorting a truckload of bootleg beer across state lines (or whatever it is that law-breaking kids do these days).

Just this past March alone saw the NYPD using social media in two homicide cases — a murder suspect in Queens was caught after boasting about the deed online; and police were able to track the murder of a 22-year-old Brooklyn woman back to a Facebook argument with another woman over a $20 loan.

NYPD forms new social media unit to mine Facebook and Twitter for mayhem [NY Daily News]