Facebook helps fight crime in Waveland - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Facebook helps fight crime in Waveland

When Waveland Police posted the face of a man accused of theft to the department's Facebook page seeking his identity, dozens of residents from the community responded to the post. (Photo source: WLOX) When Waveland Police posted the face of a man accused of theft to the department's Facebook page seeking his identity, dozens of residents from the community responded to the post. (Photo source: WLOX)
WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) -

Waveland Police Investigators say social media has become one of their most useful tools in fighting crime. They say tips from Facebook have helped solve a number of crimes in the city and even led investigators to the individuals responsible for those crimes.

When Waveland Police posted the face of a man accused of theft to the department's Facebook page seeking his identity, dozens of residents from the community responded to the post.

"Within hours, we started getting tips on who a possible subject was," said Investigator Eddie Peterson.

He said it was the department's Facebook followers who told them who their suspect was, and the post itself that brought the suspect to them.

"He saw his picture on Facebook, and through embarrassment, he came in and turned himself in. It worked both ways,” explained Peterson. “It worked by the community's help and by the suspect seeing his picture on Facebook."

That case is just one of nearly 20 police say they've solved so far this year through the use of social networking.

"We have a good following with the community. For the most part, the community stands behind us, and they don't want these crimes happening around them, because they could be a potential victim in the future," said Peterson.

It's a handy tool police say they would hate to be without.

"This type of networking allows us to do stuff law enforcement in the past would never be able to do, to reach over 3,000 people within a week or 24 hours sometimes. It's just unbelievable," said Peterson.

When its page is shared by the department's followers, even more eyes are seeing Waveland crimes and criminals.

Peterson says it's today's technology that ultimately saves taxpayers dollars in time, manpower and overtime hours.

The department reminds its followers anyone wanting to report an anonymous tip can always do so by sending the department a private message.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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