NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Social media is being used to fight crime. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, it’s the tool of the 21st century for police forces across America. This new avenue to battle crime is speeding up the process of solving cases.
Social media allows police to reach the community in an entirely new way and investigate in ways that were impossible just 20 years ago. Most recently, the video of two thieves in North Little Rock was spread across social media, helping track down the criminals.
“It’s less than a day old and it’s already receiving numerous shares and numerous views,” said Sergeant Brian Dedrick with the North Little Rock Police Department.
With many cases, police need the communities help to find information or identify suspects. Sergeant Dedrick said social media has made the community more active.
“15 years ago when I was working patrol, to get the community involved, you had to go door to door," said Sgt. Dedrick.
Now, Dedrick explains that social media can help them solve some cases 10 times faster.
"Now, we can post information, pictures, we can make short videos, put those on Facebook and thousands and thousands of people in our community are going to see that almost instantaneously," said Sgt. Dedrick.
Just like anyone else scrolling through Facebook, police can see public posts shared by friends or on group pages. That's provided answers in investigations. Recently, an arrest was made after an off-duty officer came across a video on Facebook of an adult providing what appeared to be marijuana to a toddler.
"An officer was on social media and came across the individual that was allowing his toddler to smoke marijuana," said Sgt. Dedrick.
Sgt. Dedrick said they use social media every single day as it's providing new, investigative techniques.
"You give me a name right now, we can type it in and we're going to find that name on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook," said Sgt. Dedrick.
Dedrick adds that they receive messages on Facebook daily. Facebook allows the community to provide tips and ask questions that they may not have before.