Law enforcement using social media to help solve crimes - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Law enforcement using social media to help solve crimes

LAGRANGE, GA - Social media has gone viral, and it is being used to fight crime also.  Facebook has a total of 750 million users.

Now, some state and local law enforcement agencies are joining the social networking site to catch criminals, and several in our area are already on the leading edge.

Detective Christopher Pritchett said one of the first things he does every morning is sign into the LaGrange Police Department's Facebook page and update the posts.  He says it is a way to let the community know what is going on, what crimes have been committed, and how you can help them catch suspects.

"Something that's hot that we're investigating, and its current, and we need to get something out immediately, then the Facebook would be the one for us to use," said Pritchett.

LaGrange Police are not alone other law enforcement agencies like Russell, Chambers, and Troup County Sheriff's Departments are using Facebook to put out warnings about suspects like a Muscogee County correctional officer impersonator or to show them getting drugs off the streets.

Now, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is jumping on board.  Starting Friday, they will be posting child abductions and other crime alerts on Facebook and Twitter.

For social media users like Vicki Rockwell, it could mean more people helping to find a missing child and gives more information than television alone.

"They might not catch you know that 5 minute blurb or 2 minute blurb or whatever it is that would hold that child's picture, but yet they could look at it as long as they want to on Facebook page," said Rockwell.

The GBI says releasing alerts through social media will help spread the word more quickly because every second counts.

Pritchett said millions of users and visual elements can help police get criminal cases closed.

"Pictures and videos: that solves crimes.  That's just the way it is."

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