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SLOPD using the power of social media to identify subjects

Posted at 10:37 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 01:37:34-04

Posting surveillance videos to social media platforms like Instagram, twitter and Facebook is making it easier and faster for police to identify criminals.

In some cases it took just minutes. 

A manager at Humankind Fairtrade, a nonprofit retail store located in downtown San Luis Obispo, say their security cameras caught a woman shoplifting.

Police posted the video of the woman online and just 30 minutes later someone recognized her.

"I was surprised that they identified her so quickly. We thought it was a 50/50 chance that she could be local she could not be, said Lynn Anne Wiest, Humankind Fairtrade manager.

SLOPD is turning to the public for help now more than ever, but they are careful when putting someone’s image on blast.

Back in May,  police posted images on social media after dozens of laptops and even a puppy went missing near Cal Poly.  

Those images helped catch the thieves.

According to SLOPD Captain Chris Staley, the tactic often helps track down suspects and victims in any crime.

"For people we haven’t really been able to communicate with or have the ability to ask that question, they are able to identify the people pretty quickly so for us it’s been a huge success with the multitude of crimes," said Captain Staley.

A recent attempted break-in at liquor store prompted the manager to use the power of social media.

"Hopefully somebody will recognize the guy and he will help also the police department to find out who the guy is. If he doesn’t get caught, he will for sure do it again," said Zack Kridi, manager of Cork n’ Bottles Liquor store.

Even the FBI encourages local police stations to use social media.

SLOPD wants people to share any surveillance footage they have when crimes are reported.