WWW- When Detective Sergeant Jorge Lasso of Hamilton, Ontario, wanted to circulate a surveillance video while investigating an apparent murder near a hip-hop club, he thought of his own children, who are in their 20s.
“They get all their news from the Internet,” he said. “I realized if I was going to communicate with this demographic, we were going to have to go that way.”
So rather than just giving the video – which shows two men whom the police want to question entering a nightclub – to local television stations Sgt. Lasso also posted it on YouTube (youtube.com/watch?v=SoHeMrcFI_w).
Other police forces have also discovered YouTube. Some have looked into apparent crimes that appear in YouTube postings, and a police force in England used the site to distribute an appeal for help from the parents of a murder victim. Sgt. Lasso, however, believes he may be the first investigator to directly employ YouTube as a crime-fighting tool.
After a week, YouTube had not brought the police in Hamilton any closer to finding the men, although Sgt. Lasso said the experiment was still worthwhile.
He acknowledges making one mistake. Because the police department’s main computer system does not allow access to YouTube, Sgt. Lasso made the connection through a nonnetwork computer, using a YouTube account belonging to officers who search for online child pornography. As a result, the YouTube posting inadvertently revealed one of the squad’s online screen names, jayjay551. Sgt. Lasso assumes that pseudonym will now be retired.