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Australian Woman Uses Social Media To Help Police Catch Crook

Facebook And Twitter Combine To Help Nail Criminal 

A woman in Melbourne, Australia was recently struck in the face by a man out of the blue while checking her mobile. Her name was Erica Maloney.

Instead of doing what I’d do and breaking down, crying, and calling for her mother, she chose to follow her assailant. She tracked the chase with her mobile phone and used social media to both provide evidence for the police and inform people near her to be on watch for the guy that had hit her.

social media police
source: irmatters.com

Her improvised evidence helped police discover the man was a 33-year old named Joe Fowden. Mr. Fowden, it turned out, was already wanted by the police for doing exactly the same thing beforehand to another victim. Once arrested, the man was charged with seven offences, which included recklessly and intentionally causing serious injury, being drunk in public and unlawful assault. Quite the rep sheet, then.

The woman’s bravery is incredibly commendable. Following the initial strike, she claimed she was consoled by a worker at a neighbouring hotel until she suddenly snapped out of it, took control of her phone and followed her assailant. I joked about it above, but it’s true: most of us would simply end up feeling sorry for ourselves if we fell victim to such a senseless, random act of violence. When quizzed why she followed him, Ms. Maloney claimed that she “wanted to make sure no-one else was put in the situation with the guy.” Selfless. And almost impossible to achieve without social media.

When she finally caught up with him, she asked why he had done what he had. He replied with the following: “do you want a fresh one you stupid b*tch?”

While Ms. Maloney’s response was brave and admirable, the role of social media in the story has to be praised as well. Without it, she may have decided against following her assailant for fear that, even if she did manage to snap a photo of the guy, there would be no platform from which she could share it. Knowing that she had access to Facebook and Twitter in her pocket, however, she could make the decision to use social media to help others.

social media police
source: howstuffworks.com

As well as warning friends and locals to stay away from Mr. Fowden, social media helped police in their search for him. As mentioned, he had already committed a string of crimes that day and police were already hot on his heels. Ms. Maloney’s tenacity helped them nail him, and her presence of mind to use social media – which hasn’t always covered itself in glory regarding social and community issues - helped even further.

For once, it’s nice to feature a story on here that actually has a happy ending. It’s also a relief to be able to paint social media in a positive light again.


Emile is a graduate from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

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Australian Woman Uses Social Media To Help Police Catch Crook Reviewed by Emile Cole on Friday, November 28, 2014 Rating: 5
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