Not all FBI fugitives are included in the Most Wanted section. Many bank robbers, for example, are publicized through local Bureau press releases or through various state or local websites. See our Bank Robbery webpage for a list of those sites and additional information.
Early on, our fugitive posters were commonplace in federal buildings, most notably in post offices where the mug shots and rewards were as reliably present as stamp machines. In the mid-‘90s, as the public’s attention turned to the burgeoning Internet, FBI wanted posters followed suit. The Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list went online in 1996 with the advent of the FBI website. New categories appeared shortly thereafter, including the addition of the Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2001.
“We’ve come a long way from the days of distributing wanted posters,” Bryant said. “We now routinely use not only the Internet, but television programs, digital billboards, and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to publicize wanted persons.”
To date, 56 cases have been solved as a direct result of website publicity, according to the Investigative Publicity and Public Affairs Unit, which runs the Most Wanted section. With the evolution of FBI.gov and the Most Wanted section’s new search features, we hope the public will help us even more as we move forward.
“The searchable database on our website,” Special Agent Bryant says, “is in keeping with our continuing push for new and better ways to engage the public in our investigations.”