Oh Look, Some Police Do Know How To Use Craigslist As A Tool

from the yet-again dept

We keep hearing stories of law enforcement officials, such as Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County Illinois, trying to blame Craigslist for the actions of its users, rather than recognizing that Craigslist can be a great tool for actually monitoring and tracking down crime. Some are realizing this, and Eric Goldman point us to the latest example of this. Police in Palo Alto, California (right in the heart of Silicon Valley, so it's a good sign that they get this), used a Craigslist ad to help track down a bicycle thief. This is, obviously, a rather simple example, but it does make you wonder why more law enforcement agencies don't regularly do similar things. It has to be better than suing (or threatening to sue) Craigslist for the activities of its users.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Karl, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:42am

    Law enforcement

    The whole thing seems really odd, since law enforcement officials have been using Craigslist to ferret out criminals for years.

    I have a friend who is an Indiana policeman, and part of his job is to catch pedophiles who use Craigslist to troll for underage girls. He's never gone after Craigslist itself, and his usual modus operandi is to post on Craigslist acting as an underage girl, in order to get pedophiles to respond to the ad and thus put them in jail.

    It seems like the whole anti-Craigslist thing is kind of an anomaly in law enforcement circles. I suspect that most law enforcement officials can't publicly come out against the anti-Craigslist sentiment simply because they have a reputation to uphold in the community at large.

    I don't think most beat cops are concerned about shutting down websites. Hopefully this means that the whole thing will blow over, or if not, just be ignored.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Jeff`, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:01am

    If you go after craigslist, go after the US Postal Service, telephone companies and the Net itself. Like craigslist and eBay, each is a delivery tool that is abused by jerks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    A Different Jeff, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:39am

    I work in the hotel industry in LAX and I have personally seen local law enforcement use craigslist to track/monitor/arrest prostitutes in this area. It has answered the problem of "hookers" moving off that streets and into hotel rooms significantly. Going after craigslist is ridiculous, instead of whining about how it's being abused, it should be utilized in a way that can target and diminish such abuses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Kingster (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:56am

    Re:

    Yeah, I'm still not quite sure how Craigslist can't get out of the charges based on safe harbor rules...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Nate (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:16am

    Keep in Mind...

    We always hear about the bad things that happen (blaming Craigslist) more than the good (using Craigslist) because the bad things are the outliers to what we think should be the status quo. I wouldn't be surprised if for every occurrence of officers blaming Craigslist for the actions of its users there are 100 others taking advantage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Joe, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:46am

    The police didn't use Craigslist

    Misleading headline. The owner found it on Craigslist and alerted police who acted as a buyer. The story should read "Bike Owner uses Craiglist to recover stolen property"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 6:42am

    Re: The police didn't use Craigslist

    "Misleading headline. The owner found it on Craigslist and alerted police who acted as a buyer. The story should read "Bike Owner uses Craiglist to recover stolen property""

    That wouldn't be a bad headline, but I think a better one would be:

    "Bike Owner Does Police Force's Job For Them, Demands Several Donuts and Free Food At Local Eatery"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Pangolin (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: The police didn't use Craigslist

    Right. It could have been a newspaper ad just as easily. The detective was the initial theft victim.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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