SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Reaching out to a new world of witnesses, social media is helping local law enforcement solve crimes. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are making it easier for officers to catch criminals.
You turn to them for just about everything else, now Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department can be found on all of those social media sites.
“The sheriff’s department is going to use social media outlets to inform the public about crimes that are occurring, murder suspects or just general information,” said Dep. James Hart.
In just one week, they’re already seeing success.
“One of those tips has led to an arrest already in the first week, and also a number of leads to additional suspects,” said Hart.
This, combined with a new online tipping system, has deputies hopeful for more participation from the public.
“It’s easier to follow on my news feed and keep up with, than anything else. It’s just easier,” said one woman.
“The sheriff’s department can get tips online on our website,” said Hart. “There’s an android, iPhone app, you can also text tips.”
So far, so good, the response has been strong.
“Our Facebook page has received just under 500 likes,” said Hart. “On Twitter, we have about 5,000 followers.”
The attention spans well beyond the area.
“Looking at the statistics for our social media, it’s not only people in Sacramento, it’s people worldwide that are viewing these crimes,” said Hart.
The detectives currently working cases are looking forward to having even more help, and more eyes on some of their unsolved crimes.
“It leads to a tremendous amount of tips; and it basically turns one detective’s capability by giving it to thousands and thousands of eyes out there to catch a criminal off the street,” said Cpt. Phil Brelje.
One of the most critical components is the timing. Social media continues to prove that immediate access has huge advantages.
“The minute we send it out, if we have a video, we can instantly hit all our followers out there,” said Brelje. “We don’t have to wait for the five o’clock news; it happens instantaneously.”
The sheriff’s department is actively using its social media accounts and will continue to post all of its latest information.