Police officials are using the power of social media to crack down on criminals, and everyday citizens are helping them catch the bad guys. Mobile County Sheriff, Sam Cochran, stopped by our studio to tell us how social media is being used to fight crime.
Sheriff Cochran says the sheriff office’s Facebook page is used to post pictures of suspects. Citizens who follow the page see those pictures, and often times offer information that can help crack the crime. He says pressure from the public has caused suspects to identify themselves and surrender. He says people don’t like to see pictures and videos of themselves committing crimes online. Many times, they ask if those pictures and videos can be removed once they surrender.
Social media is a very powerful tool because of the vast audience it reaches. Over 15,000 people can see pictures and videos after the sheriff’s office posts them online. That content reaches an even broader audience when followers re-post and share it. Sheriff Cochran says he recognizes that people want to be involved with helping solve crimes. Social media allows those people to play an important role in solving some crimes. In addition to using Facebook, deputies use Twitter to tweet out messages from the field to inform the public what may be going on in a certain area.
People’s personal social media pages can also be used to gather information about them. Sometimes criminal acts are posted on people’s personal page. Officials also look at the pages to see a person’s associates.