Public Crime Reporting on Social Media: A Progressive or Regressive Phenomenon?

  • Alice RavenEmail author
Part of the Security Informatics and Law Enforcement book series (SILE)


The concept of public crime reporting on social media has received much media and scholarly interest as a socially constructed behavioural response to crime. The move to social media is re-shaping traditional understandings of the integration between offline and online communities. This chapter examines the cultural scripts, which influence understandings surrounding the phenomenon’s transition as default response to crime incidents. Through a cultural criminological approach examining contemporary case studies, an overarching debate emerged of whether the phenomenon reflects a justified act, which highlights the contrasting implications of the phenomenon as encouraging social activism versus facilitating ‘social spectatorism’. The chapter provides a set of recommendations for law enforcement agencies to take advantage of the shift in citizens’ crime reporting behaviours, which may help to improve the breadth of intelligence and the reliability of witness statements potentially advancing the effectiveness of investigations. The discussions provide new ways of understanding public crime reporting on social media as a socially constructed phenomenon that has the potential to reshape how crime can be countered as a social practice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CENTRIC, Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

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