Cops On The YouTube Beat

from the specializing-in-dumb-criminals dept

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen some politicians trying to blame YouTube for encouraging crimes, under the odd rationale that kids are committing crimes just to show them off on YouTube. In fact, one politician even proposed a law that would make punishment worse for people who put video of the crime on YouTube. However, it would appear that the police have a rather different view: YouTube is a fantastic tool for catching dumb criminals who provide all the evidence needed against them, by posting it to YouTube. In fact, it sounds like some police departments are putting an increased presence on YouTube and other sites, searching for evidence of wrongdoing. This comes after quite a few stories of people incriminating themselves with YouTube videos. However, as the article notes, criminals may have much less incentive in England and Wales to post such incriminating evidence, as filming a crime and posting it to the internet will now be considered an “aggravating factor” in the case.

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Comments on “Cops On The YouTube Beat”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Of course it shouldn’t be posted; police officers have a reputation to keep up. Pointing to evidence that such a reputation is sometimes undeserved undermines the authority of the whole police force, and it’s much easier to quash dissent than to try making internal corrections.

On a more serious note, though, I think there is some concern for having regular cops ‘set up’, making cleverly staged videos that show just enough to give the impression of brutality when, in context, no wrong was done.

I don’t think this concern excuses, say, a Baltimore cop physically and mentally harrassing some kid, even if the kid instigated the confrontation. The Police should be on a higher level than juvenille punks.

Alimas says:

Re: Re: Re:

WOW! Are you SERIOUS?!
I can’t believe I just read that! It damn WELL should be posted! EVERY and ANY instance of police officer misconduct should be posted.
Your right they have a reputation to keep and its kept via avoiding misconduct, not covering it up! We’re not talking about running secret police here!
And any instance of misconduct should rightfully undermine their people’s perception them. Thats the design of our society, you lose credibility in the eyes of those you serve – you lose your job.
The police force has tons of famous misconduct events because of attitudes like yours where its a club that needs to protect itself from the public – thats exactly the opposite of their job – which is to protect the public.
Wow – anybody thats dragging down the perception of the force should be removed from it – post haste.

And the officer is NEVER on a higher level than anybody and NEVER should perceive himself to be, even compared to some punk. He is a SERVANT of the public, not a LORD.

While the threat of staged materials is possible, it is still difficult to do (convincingly) and is massively out weighed by the need to maintain/improve checks and balances.

Strofcon says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As much as I’m sure we can all appreciate the passion in your post, you seem to have missed the point of the post you replied to. I don’t think they were trying to say that such videos should not be posted, but rather making a snide comment about the mentality of those who think police brutality videos are not to be put online. It’s especially evident in the last part of the second sentence.

Of course, I could be wrong, in which case I agree with you that the above poster is off base.

redgif says:

Seems reasonable to me to increase penalties for posting your own video of a crime you commit. ( But this option should be left up to a judge and not be mandatory. Why we have judges after all, an attempt to find justice.)

This will not prevent the truly stupid from doing it, they would do it anyway.

But it should discourage the more clever, who are posting video for the sole purpose of claiming notoriety, or to intimidate witnesses, or dare I say it..even empress girl.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

But what does that serve? Currently, dumb and arrogant criminals are getting themselves caught. If we raised the penalties, or even threatened to raise the penalties, if you incriminated yourself, we’d still catch the dumb but the simply-arrogant would wise up. Net loss of caught crooks; doesn’t sound like a prudent plan to me.

Unless, of course, you think that having these crimes recorded on YouTube is worse than having these people out committing the crimes in the fist place.

Redgif says:

The operative element should be intent. If the intent is to intimidate witnesses or another person with a video: say, burning down someones house with the words “Don’t Snitch” , or beating the hell out of your wifes lover, penalties should be increased(again left up to a judge who reviews the case).

On the contrary, you won’t suffer a net loss in criminals caught. You will discourage a net increase in a new kind of crime, committed for the purpose of intimidation or purely the notoriety to be gained.

The stupid remain stupid and still get caught.

Bob says:


Full-time video watcher

Must be willing to sit through teenage dancer, pet videos, lip syncing, pranks and the occasional criminal activity. Familiarity with Google Video, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, and the “Internets” in general are a plus. 20/20 vision not required. Common sense optional.

If you are interested in this position please submit your interview video to YouTube and email to

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