An Anonymous Instagram User is ‘Ratting Out’ Witnesses of Violent Crimes in Philly


No matter how good your intentions, any tool can be perverted and used for a negative purpose that was never intended. That is the case with Instagram right now, as reports are coming out of Philly that an anonymous account has been ‘ratting out’ witnesses of violent crimes by posting photos, police statements and testimonies.

The account, @rats215, was uncovered by investigators last week when an officer stumbled across a suspicious post while monitoring Twitter. He found tweets containing photos of a witness and court records from an attempted shooting from last year, which ultimately led him to the Instagram account where he discovered that more than 30 witnesses had been identified since February.


According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the now disabled account had acquired almost 8,000 followers and posted over 150 photos before being taken down, drawing likes and comments aplenty — comments like “Post some new rats, I needa put a hit out on them.”

Sadly, witness intimidation is nothing new in Philadelphia. Speaking with the Inquirer over email, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office Tasha Jamerson admitted that it is a “very serious, ongoing problem,” but where once statements would appear in barber shops or on light poles around town, they now have a new outlet in Instagram and its ilk.

Jamerson continued on to say that the DA is “work[ing] with Philadelphia police to investigate vigorously and thoroughly any attempt to intimidate any witness, to identify perpetrators, and, where appropriate, arrest and prosecute.”‘

(via Business Insider)

Image credits: Philadelphia Night Skyline by Thesab.

  • Tom Waugh

    Extremely tenouous link to photography here. I honestly can’t see why this article was deemed worthy of inclusion on the PP website.

  • Christopher King

    One would argue the hollywood justice system in America that allows photography and videography in the courts is how this person acquires such information. Hence how photography, journalism ethics and videography are tied to this article.

  • Tom Delay

    yea easy tom

  • Crissa

    I hope they’re able to catch the person. Whoever it is needs to be ratted out.

  • Jake

    I hate to repeat the old cliché, but nobody is making you read all these articles.

  • Jay

    You should ask for your money back.

  • corieallen

    Ironic that it’s ok to “snitch” but not ok to “snitch” on the snitch. I don’t condone crime, but I also don’t condone double standards or secrecy.