Author: RAND Corporation

Using Social Media and Social Network Analysis in Law Enforcement

Publication Date: July 2018

In April 2017, the National Institute of Justice convened an expert panel to identify high-priority needs for law enforcement's use of social media and social network analysis. The panel characterized business cases for employing social media and social network analysis in law enforcement, including monitoring for short-term safety threats in postings; identifying those at high risk of involvement in violence, either acutely or chronically; and investigating specific crimes and organized crime networks. The panel also specified a framework for providing computer security, privacy, and civil rights protections when employing these types of analysis. Next, the panela addressed concerns law enforcement–specific training, starting with determining gaps in existing training. Training on legal issues is a short-term priority and the creation of a help desk to help law enforcement agencies navigate requests to social media companies and interpret the resulting data. Finally, the panel identified and prioritized needs for innovation related to social media and social network analysis.


Technology; Data Analysis