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Social media aids law enforcement in catching criminals

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DRY RIDGE, Ky. - There are two main ways police solve crime. The first is when they witness someone committing a criminal offense. The other involves the help from those who they are sworn to protect and serve.

"The public is definitely our eyes and ears," said Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills.

And one way police get the attention of those ears and eyes is by utilizing the media. Crime Stoppers often contacts 9 On Your Side and WCPO.com to show the public surveillance photos from crimes ranging from ban robberies to purse snatching.

The other growing path law enforcement agencies have been taking advantage of is social media. Dills said that the two main ways crimes are solved is when a peace officer witnesses a crime happening and the other is investigating public tips.

Dills continued to explain that his office gets five leads a week from social media. Those tips in recent days have led to arrests of people allegedly operating methanphetamine labs inside of homes.

"Not only in our area, but I think nationally, law enforcement is getting thinner and thinner in staff," said Dills. "We're having to depend on the public to help us with these cases."

The Kentucky State Police often posts "most wanted" photos of suspects on Facebook.com and its own domain. When arrests are made, or cases become solved, the public responds to the postings.

Dills posted information about two meth-labs being shut down and at last check, nearly 196 people "liked" the post on Facebook.com. The bottom line is that authorities ask for help from the public, because they need it.

Dills has been pleased with the speediness social media offers his investigators.

"We're getting this [information in] real time information and were getting leads on it," he said. "So its really helping our jobs to solve crimes."

Ultimately, the sheriff wants everyone to know, whether they live in Butler County, Ohio, or Lexington, Ky. that they should inform authorities of the behavior or scenario. You see, police cannot investigate something they do not know exists.

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