Social media has become an important crime-fighting tool for police departments across the country, both for getting information about criminal activity out to the public and for helping citizens identify suspects. In fact, the practice has become so common that perhaps we need a word or phrase for criminals captured with the help of social media. Facebooked? Caught in a Social Dragnetwork?
Recently, the Daly City Police Department was able to identify and arrest a hit-and-run suspect thanks to Facebook. It started when the department posted a message on its Facebook page about a hit-and-run incident that took place on October 8 at around 6:11 p.m. on Serramonte Boulevard at Gellert Boulevard in Daly City. The suspect, driving a white Nissan Frontier, rear-ended the victim’s vehicle and fled the scene, according to the message.
Fortunately, a quick-thinking witness to the incident was able to take photos of the suspect and his car’s damaged front end before the suspect drove away. Daly City Police posted these photos along with the Facebook message asking for the public’s help.
On Monday, the department announced on its Facebook page that “[a]fter seeing the Facebook posting, a citizen who recognized the photo called the Police Department. Early Friday evening, officers followed up on the tip and identified the driver/suspect.”
Police took the suspect, described as a 30-year-old San Francisco resident, into custody, where he confessed to the hit-and-run. Charges are still pending, and police are not releasing the name of the suspect at this time.
It is unlikely the suspect will be “liking” the Daly City Police Department’s Facebook page anytime soon.