Crime in the age of Facebook

illustration courtesy of Matt Robinson

Last week, my neighbor’s house was burglarized in broad daylight. The thieves managed to get in a side window and get out with tons of goods—TV, computers, cash, etc. All, apparently, loaded into a waiting truck.

We’ve been on edge ever since, jumping at funny noises, glancing wearily at slow-driving trucks.

The cops aren’t likely to make arrests any time soon—unless the criminals happen to be as stupid as one guy in Washington, D.C., who posted photos of himself with stolen loot on his victim’s Facebook page.

Reporter Marc Fisher detailed his experience on The Washington Post’s Story Lab blog:

“[The] apparent thief didn’t stop with taking our belongings. … He opened my son’s computer, took a photo of himself sneering as he pointed to the cash lifted from my son’s desk, and then went on my son’s Facebook account and posted the picture for 400 teenagers to see. In the picture, the man is wearing my new winter coat, the one that was stolen right out of the Macy’s box it had just arrived in.”

Fisher goes on to list similar stories, including a DUI defendant who got a two-year prison sentence for vehicle manslaughter after the prosecutor in the case discovered incriminating photos on the suspect’s MySpace page, and employees at an Ottawa hardware store who were able to identify a shoplifter by combing through pictures from people who had “liked” the store’s Facebook page.

Fisher and his family were able to get Facebook to cooperate with the police on their case—here’s hoping there will be an arrest soon.

My neighbors probably won’t be so lucky, but it might not be a bad idea for them to tap into their social media networks, just in case.

Compiled from Popsmart.

Change is gonna come

The illustration on the right came from designer Matt Robinson. SN&R has of course editorialized in support of Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. But for some reason, at first I was a little regretful that the leaked cables would do still more political damage to an Obama administration that I believed had good intentions. Over the weeks, watching the U.S. reaction and the attempts to jail Assange, and watching the President’s half-assed “negotiations” on tax cuts for the rich, I’ve come to share the view of many of my fellow citizens: the hell with it.

Compiled from Snog.