It's been a busy week with my father-in-law visiting and so have reflected less on psychology other than the sort of natural observations one makes when one is out and about.
However, now that he has left, my wife has started rewatching some true-crime favourites. One interesting side-effect of social media, is the hands-on approach people are now taking to crime. In the UK with a lack of funding, the pressures on the police, NHS (health service), etc are daunting.
A number of shows point out this change. On Netflix for example there are 'Don't **** with cats' and 'The Tinder Swindler'.
But one thing these shows point out is that more and more those who are victimised or else observe questionable or even criminal behaviour utilise tech skills to track down the individuals in question.
Here is a brief list of pros to this sort of investigation that I have observed:
Cheap or even free for the nation as those who utilise these tech skills are ordinary members of the public who do this in their spare time.
There are no other cases these people are focusing on. Since these people become interested for specific reasons all of their time is spent on one case.
Generally, these are individuals whose use of social media has made them savvy about its use and the potential for finding users.
These amateur sleuths are quite often unaware of police procedure and thus risk damaging evidence for use in a court setting.
There may be a tendency for vigilantism to take over
The more of these people there are, the higher the risk of white noise. Possible leads may get buried with the more people who join the hunt.
There is no central figure to guide the amateur hunt, so there may be a lack of direction.
While I fully endorse the idea of amateurs sleuthing, I'm aware of the drawbacks. If there is an interest in a case, perhaps only a small group of independents could assist. I don't think this trend is likely to stop anytime soon. Perhaps one day, we'll see amateur psychologists informing the direction of an investigation.