How people, and police, use the power of social media to fight crime

Social media — love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. So you might as well embrace it.

There’s a Facebook page started by an Ewa Beach man that’s helping folks get their stolen stuff back. And more and more people are using social media to help fight crime.

It’s a place millions of people visit every day — a high tech coconut wireless where you can talk with your fingers to family and friends, and find out what’s going on in your community — both the good and the bad.

“We are making an impact because we are helping people find their stuff,” said Mike Kitchens, creator of “Stolen Stuff Hawaii.”

He created the Facebook page a little over a year ago, and already it has almost 20,000 members.

“That’s basically what it
is, a neighborhood watch for the entire state of Hawaii,” Kitchens said.

He created the page after his brother-in-law’s van and tools were stolen.

“I got so frustrated. I was on Facebook at the time, venting, and I thought social media is so powerful why not try and find an avenue that can help people,” Kitchens said.

“Stolen Stuff Hawaii” is just one of several community forums based in Hawaii that help spread the word about crimes that happened and what to look out for.

“Social media is fast, really fast. And I think it’s the way to go, so quick. They’ll post something and within minutes they’ll get a response,” Kitchens said.

Social media has also become an invaluable tool for police departments. The Honolulu Police Department often posts photos and videos of wanted suspects on its Facebook page.

HPD said in a statement to KHON2: “Social media can be a useful tool in solving crimes, and posting a photo or video can sometimes lead to tips and arrests. In fact, HPD’s ‘Na Maka’ posts have helped us in identifying several suspects.”

“It’s a joint thing in that our community is being proactive, which allows HPD to do their job even better. It makes it easier for them in a way and I think it’s only going to get bigger,” Kitchens said.

Even if you post information on social media about a crime that happened to you, don’t forget that you still need to report it to police.

In fact, police want you to call 911 first before posting it on social media, and that way officers can link any tips or leads to an actual police report.

Source: http://khon2.com/2015/09/09/how-people-and-police-use-the-power-of-social-media-to-fight-crime/ By Marisa Yamane

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