Over the past two decades, the Top Ten list has focused on the most violent of fugitives sought for homicides, armed robberies, gang activities, and mass shootings.
In the earliest days, wanted posters would be placed in local post offices, and information on offenders was provided to newspapers. This quickly was supplemented with radio shows and television programs. As media has changed over the years, so have the FBI’s outreach methods.
“We still do the traditional stuff—the press conference, posters, sending out a press release—but we now add in the more modern aspects,” says Chris Allen, head of the FBI’s Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit. “Now folks are on their smartphones, so we have a Wanted mobile app. We have social media we use to publicize fugitives—we tweet, run Facebook ads, use Instagram.”
The FBI also works with digital billboard companies to publicize wanted fugitives, Allen added.