Police using social media to catch crooks - KMOV.com

Police using social media to catch crooks

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By Elizabeth Eisele By Elizabeth Eisele

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. - Local police departments are creating Facebook pages and posting surveillance photos of criminals in action, allowing the public to help put criminals in jail. 

De Soto Police say there are probably twenty cases that may not be solved if they didn't turn to Facebook and then get the public's help identifying the suspects. 

According to the department, the use of Facebook has helped to build a positive relationship between police and the community. 

"The response that we got is overwhelming," said Det. Rick Draper of the De Soto Police Department. 

Detective Draper is in charge of the De Soto Police  Department's use of Facebook. Draper says there are certain crimes where Facebook can be a powerful tool. 

Thousands check the Facebook page daily  and police get many calls identifying suspects, even from their family members. 

De Soto business owner Danni Foreman says a crime victim came into one of her stores to get help after their car was stolen. 

" We immediately called police and the police put it on Facebook and gave a description of the truck and the truck was found a couple of hours later." 

The Union Police Department in Franklin County recently started posting photos of shoplifters at their Walmart and quickly started solving crimes. 

"Right now we're shooting 100 percent, but we have only been doing that for about four or five months," said Union Police Chief Norman Brune. 

De Soto Police believe the use of Facebook has helped them respond more quickly to residents and build trust between police and the community. 

"By having our Facebook page and being able to communicate directly with people, essentially we have built that bridge and the open line of communications is there and it's everyday," says Det. Draper. 

Det. Draper calls their Facebook page one of the top five crime fighting tools he's ever used and doesn't know why every police department doesn't use Facebook. 

 

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