"For better or worse, the Internet has become an integral part of life for most Americans. On the negative side, interconnectivity has spawned new breeds of crime, such as cyber stalking and phishing, causing new headaches for law enforcement, who must remain a step ahead of today’s tech-savvy criminals. On the other hand, the increasing sophistication and improved integration of social media have also created unparalleled opportunities for law enforcement agencies to connect with their communities in innovative new ways.
A September 2010 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) survey revealed that 81 percent of law enforcement agencies interviewed now use social media. However, while 62 percent report using tools such as Facebook to aid in criminal investigations, fewer than half acknowledge using social media for crime prevention. Many experts believe the social media sphere holds enormous potential for law enforcement crime prevention units and groups such as Neighborhood Watch.