GPD: Don't rely on social media during an emergency

GPD: Don't rely on social media during an emergency
Bromen says residents should only rely on 911 in the event of an emergency. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport woman posted on her Facebook page that her daughter was almost kidnapped by a man in the Orange Grove area.

Gulfport police received numerous pleas for help - only to find out it probably never happened.

"On March 6th, a particular post on Facebook had more than 2,300 shares. Since then....we've looked into it, and followed up," Sgt. Josh Bromen with the Gulfport Police Department said. "There had been no reports, no calls of service from the area, not from any businesses. We checked again this morning and, again, there were no reported kidnappings."

Now, Bromen wants to encourage people not to use social media to ask for any type of police help.

"Call 911. Social media, Facebook, Instagram - these things come and go. The one constant is 911," said Bromen. "If you feel you're in need, call. If you see something, don't just post it, call police right then."

Bromen says his department even sifted through surveillance footage of the area where the woman claimed her daughter was almost kidnapped. However, they determined there was no evidence to support the alleged near-kidnapping post was real.

"The issue is you have these stories populated. You only have to have one get disseminated and people don't believe the real ones anymore," said Bromen. "It's very frustrating."

He also stresses the importance of only using the traditional route - a phone call - when needing help from the authorities.

"Our Facebook page is not monitored 24-hours a day. Contact police via 911 if you're in danger or see any crime taking place," Bromen noted.

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