Surrey Police used Twitter to reconstruct a crime scene – and generated tips and evidence enough to help build a case against two violent robbers.
Calling it the world’s first Twitter crime reconstruction, Surrey Police tweeted a series of photos and information to over 53,000 Twitter users. The tweets were sent a month after a violent robbery, in an effort to find and connect with witnesses.
As the BBC reports, the criminals – 50-year-old Terrace Clark and father to 27-year-old Lewis Clark – are now in jail, having been sentenced to life and 16 years in prison respectively.
The pair was arrested within a week of the robbery, which saw a driver brutally pistol whipped and with serious injuries, but were allowed out on bail for nine months while the police gathered evidence against them. And part of the evidence was gathered on Twitter.
Using the hashtags #tweconstruction and #opjadeite, the Twitter reconstruction began with showing a photo of the Chevrolet car seen in the area of the robbery, and proceeded through the events of the incident.
The reconstruction prompted 40 calls, some of which helped eliminate suspects and gather evidence.
As former detective, Dave Lattimore explains, the fact that the reconstruction was tweeted live, right to the smartphones of potential witnesses, was part of the reason why those 40 calls came in:
“If you do a Crimewatch reconstruction you’ve got to get people watching TV and then they’ve got to make the call. But people are carrying their smart phones round all day long. That is why you can get such a big response.”