Authorities using social media to nab criminals

Facebook, Twitter helping authorities nab criminals

BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Just about everyone is on Twitter or Facebook, and that includes most police departments and sheriff's offices across the country. The Butler County Sheriff's office is now using its network to track down criminals.

"We've had people turn themselves in and what not, they know that people are looking and instead of running they just decide to turn themselves in," Butler County Captain Lance Bunnell said.

There have been some cases where confidence behind the keyboard was the criminals downfall. In March of 2015, Andrew Marcum replied to Butler County Sheriff's post searching for him and turned himself in.

[UPDATE: 'Warrant of the Week' suspect turns himself in]

"It's the equivalent of poking a bear in a cage," Sheriff Richard Jones said. 

"People don't read newspapers, they don't watch TV like they do but boy they sure get on Facebook and they get on that Twitter," Bunnell said.

The sheriff's office was able to track down a shoplifter within four hours. They then thanked their tipsters after taking the suspect into custody.

"That tip actually came in earlier than four hours. It was just a matter of us weeding out through the tips that we got cause we get a bunch of them, we truly do and it's amazing the amount of the community that wants to help," Bunnell said.

Bunnell has been on the force for 24 years and he can remember the days of going door to door. Now, times have changed and all of his detectives go through social media training.

"The information that's captured on a daily basis is light-years ahead of what it used to be, it truly is. The computer itself with the internet it has opened up so many doors," he said.

Social media has been such a key tool for them that they started posting their "Warrant of the Week" to social media. This wasn't originally a weekly thing for this department, but the success they've experienced with Twitter and Facebook has them using social networking more and more.

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