Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finding The Girlfriend To Catch The Crook

The Honolulu Star Advisor has a piece with an interview with the FBI Special Agent who helped craft the TV advertising campaign that got the tip that snagged FBI 10 Most Wanted fugitive and mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger.

The commercials were aimed at female viewers in the same age group as Greig, 60 — viewers believed to be the most likely group to interact with Greig, whether as friends, co-workers, neighbors, hairstylists, doctors or dentists.

"In terms of publicity, the FBI knows that combining the reach and power of the media with alert citizens is a successful formula for catching fugitives," Richard Teahan, who led the Bulger task force, said on the day of the ad launch. "So we are taking the next logical step and continuing our focus on Greig, who has been on the run with Bulger since 1995."

In the story, it mentions that they had previously placed ads in publications likely to been seen by plastic surgeons as they knew Bulger's girlfriend had numerous plastic surgeries. According to the story the results demonstrated that by focussing on the girlfriend they were "on to something". After coming up with a TV ad campaign and buying time on TV show's popular with women viewers, the ads aired and both Bulger and his girlfriend were arrested the next day.

This goes to show that often times, thinking 'outside the box' or taking a new approach to an old and difficult problem can lead to a solution. If you are working on a difficult crime problem, have you tried a different or unusual approach to solving it?

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