Using social networking sites as an investigative tool

Leverage the Internet to search beyond just “status updates” and messages — look for images, photographs, and captions, especially on Facebook, Twitpic and Flickr

The Internet has changed the way we do police work in so many ways. Most cops know that eBay is one of the best ways to locate stolen property, and until recently Craig’s List was every vice unit’s go-to site for prostitution, but when it comes to online social networking, most of us are chastised and warned about what not to do on our personal sites. However, I recently learned from Technical Trooper Robyn Goss some of the many ways social networking can be used to investigate and uncover criminal activity.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says Trooper Goss, a 12-year veteran with the Kansas Highway Patrol. “People will lock down comments but forget about pictures,” Robyn told me. “Look in the background, read the captions.”

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