The surveillance video that the Erie Police Department posted to their Facebook page led to the arrests of three teenagers accused of robbing a woman and choking her. The EPD credits social media for helping them solve multiple crimes throughout the city.
Long gone are the days of wanted posters, thanks to Facebook and twitter, police can immediately post pictures or surveillance video to get some help identifying suspects.
Detective Sergeant Christopher Janus of the EPD tells us, “especially if it’s a missing person or a high profile case, we’re able to get that out immediately to the public. They can share it, the news media can share it, and get it out to their viewers as well.”
The Erie Police Department Facebook page has more than 17,000 followers, and a typical post will get 15,000 to 25,000 likes or shares, helping them gather more leads. And, while it’s a great place to share the information, if you have information on a crime, it’s best to pick up the phone.
“We don’t monitor the Facebook page 24/7, so if someone posts something we may not see it for a couple hours so if someone has information, they are asked to call the detective’s number on the post”.
Other departments around the area, Millcreek Police are in the process of implementing social media into their daily routine, meantime emergency management has been using it for years as a way to alert the public and stay connected.
Matt Exley of Millcreek Township Emergency Management says, “it becomes immensely important for us to embrace media and social media so that we can get that information out quickly and correctly”.
The departments not only use social media to send alerts or notifications. It’s a way to create a better relationship with the community.
Exley also says, “we post things that are kind of funny now, so we gain their interest and a lot of people are following us now because of what we post daily, so when it becomes time for serious stuff they are already paying attention to us… it’s just important for us to feel relevant and this is a tool that the community uses and we want to use it to communicate better with them.”