If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth? In social media circles, video is priceless. It captures the attention of people in ways a simple photo or story can't do. Although more police departments are using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, very few are taking advantage of the power of video.
When you examine the popularity of the number one video site, YouTube, you understand how important video is to the average consumer. Three billion, yes "3" billion videos are viewed each day on YouTube. There are over 100,000,000 videos a day uploaded to YouTube. Of course YouTube is not the only video site. There are many others such as Vimeo, Vevo and Hulu. The question is how can law enforcement take advantage of this phenomenon and gain value from using video?
Let's assume your department has created a YouTube account. What's next? You must have good content for the site in order to attract viewers. There are two main sources for content for your department's YouTube account. These sources are crimes in progress and content you create.
Crimes in Progress
Cameras are everywhere and because of this many suspects are "caught on tape." There is something interesting about these types of video that attract viewers. A department can use this type of video to help identify the suspect or suspects with the help of the community. This is especially important since any release of these types of video to the news media will only result in a short story which only shows part of the video. By having your own site, you can show the entire video which can be viewed at anytime.
Content Created by Your Department
This one is a little trickier because it takes more time and resources to do well. However, the benefit is well worth the cost. There are almost an unlimited number of subjects to post video about. Community events, crime prevention tips, promotional ceremonies, award presentations, and purchasing a new piece of equipment are just a few examples of sources of video. You are only limited by your imagination. You can simply record and upload the raw video or you can create a movie with titles using various popular applications. A good example of a department using video is the Boca Raton, Florida, Police Department
. Check out their account at http://www.youtube.com/bocapolice
By some estimates, there are close to 100 million smartphones
in operation in the United States. This market is increasing daily. These users are accessing video on these devices. In addition, consumers are using the iPad and similar devices to access video as well. Video access is mobile now more than ever. Your department's use of video can have significant returns if you use it because consumers want video and they have the ability to access it 24/7. Why not give them what they want?