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Investigators crowdsourcing for case-related information

Investigators crowdsourcing for case-related information

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SALT LAKE CITY — Not everyone can patrol the night like Salt Lake City's Black Monday Society, but you can fight crimes with your smart phone alone.

Lately, investigators are using sites that rely on citizen's comments on everything from personal blogs to information-sharing sites to acquire pertinent information. But are these sources being used in the right way?

Crowdsourced Investigations, a new company making a name for itself based on its unorthodox methods, claims that people's addiction to social media is a major player in crime-fighting networks.

According to this article, a representative of Crowdsourced Investigations found inspiration when comments on a blog were able to help law enforcement learn the make and model of a car involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident, bringing new evidence to the case that would have otherwise taken much longer to learn.

Jason K. Jensen, owner of Utah's Jensen Investigations, says there are some good times for investigators to take what they know to the public.

"Some of the benefits might (occur) if the case was getting cold and law enforcement had no suspects, or they couldn't identify a key piece of evidence." Jensen said.

These instances are more for the cases that do not require specific information like an actual person. It is also not always a reliable source of information, and should never be made into a site with the outward mission to fight crime. "It's just going to become cluttered with a lot of unessential information.", a website dedicated to Security and Risk, has identified five free ways to use crowdsourcing for investigations , including Yahoo! Answers, to help fight crime.

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Paul Nelson and Brielle Valyntín Alexander


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