You have probably heard about cops and the FBI using social media to track criminals, but you may not know bounty hunters and bail bonds agencies were among the earliest adopters of this technology. Bounty hunters have long sought out ingenious ways to track criminals and discovered early on that criminals just aren’t that smart when it comes to social media usage while on the run.
Basics of Social Networking
Social networking, also known as social media, includes Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. These sites are used so widely across racial and age demographics they encapsulate the lives of the majority of average Americans. According to Pew Research Center in January 2014, 71% of all internet-using American adults have Facebook profiles. Facebook allows users to make their posts public or to individually customize who can see them. Facebook also integrates with several other types of social media allowing users to check in automatically, showing their precise location and auto-posting it to their Facebook account. Different people use social media in their own way; some use it rarely while others use it constantly. Some post only links to other content, such as YouTube videos, but others use it share their daily thoughts and plans or to communicate with friends about meet ups.
Twitter and Instagram are used by far lower numbers of people but they are still quite popular. Twitter allows users to post their thoughts in 140-character bursts, while Instagram is a photo-sharing site. Both are often used similar to Facebook to showcase immediate activities and locations. They include the ability to tag other users within one’s social circle on the site. Twitter and Instagram can also be integrated to auto-post to Facebook.
Setting Up Ways To Follow Bail Jumpers
Although social media sites have publicly said they are not comfortable with law enforcement using them to track criminal behavior, they are well aware they are used this way. This usage and monitoring is legal. Checking on a Facebook profile does not require a warrant. If users choose to make their posts public they are available to view by anyone else with an account, and this is how bail bonds persons and bounty hunters are able to easily access information.
Additionally, viewing the public account of a bail jumper gives the bounty hunter access to their list of friends. This affords a bounty hunter additional people to monitor who may post information which can lead to the bail jumper. If the bounty hunter or bail bonds agency is already familiar with the bail jumpers closest associates they are ahead of the game.
Catching Up With Criminals
Criminals don’t seem to realize how accessible their social media accounts are to the public, so it is common for them to “check-in” via another application like Foursquare, a location-specifying application. Between meeting up with friends who post photos, using applications that auto-post specifics about their location and even sharing bragging updates or photos of their exploits, bail jumpers reveal their patterns of movement quite easily.
Because so much social media is used through smartphones precise tracking has become remarkably simple and requires minimal technological prowess. All it takes is patience and a little social media savvy on the part of a bounty hunter to find criminals.