German police force looks to Facebook to solve crimes

Aug 11, 2011
The Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer. German police officers in the northern city of Hanover are using Facebook to catch criminals in an experiment that might be expanded to other forces in the country.

German police officers in the northern city of Hanover are using Facebook to catch criminals in an experiment that might be expanded to other forces in the country.

Six months' ago the Hanover police force set up a account with appeals to the public to come forward to help solve cases.

This has already led to the clearing up of six cases, including one break-in, one auto theft, and one missing person.

The "Polizei Hannover" Facebook account already has some 23,000 "friends" who pass on information to their own contacts, said police spokesman Stefan Wittke.

This has resulted in over 1.6 million "hits" on the police account in the past month, he added.

"With Facebook we can reach quite a different audience than that of newspapers or television. Seventy percent of our Facebook fans are aged under 35," according to the police.

"And, statistically speaking, the vast majority of people involved in are young -- whether they be victims, offenders or witnesses. In other words, with Facebook we can reach exactly the right target group."

On Thursday, the Facebook page gave information about the arrest in Poland of a man wanted in connection with a robbery in Hanover, and published photos of several men, including one wanted for attempting to rob a 71-year-old woman, and two showing armed men robbing a petrol station.

Police also herald some of their recent successes, including the corralling of two elephants who had escaped from a zoo.

If considered to be successful, the six-month experiment, which ends later this month, might be extended to other in the country, added Wittke.

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Facebook fugitive caught after 105 days

May 27, 2009

The long arm of the law finally caught up with a New Zealand fugitive whose 105 days on the run inspired a Facebook fansite, a song and a line of tee shirts.

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

( —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...