Facebook leads to more arrests, tips for police
BENTON, Ky. - A white, patched wall tells the story of a late night break in at the Benton Pharmacy.
Manager Kirk Dripps says it happened early last Friday morning and the criminal came in through the backdoor, "He came thru the cement block and knocked off a section here."
"You can see where they dusted for fingerprints," he continued, pointing to a smeared gray mess left behind by police that still covers the back door.
But, it was not those fingerprints that led police to make an arrest. It was a phone call that came on the heels of a social media post.
"It was definitely a good idea," Captain Jeromy Hicks with the Benton Police said of launching his department's website in January.
Other agencies are doing the same and finding similar success. In eight months, the Graves County Sheriff's Department has made six arrests thanks to Facebook. In Trigg County, two years on Facebook has translated into more than 15 arrests.
McCracken County's page recently posted a picture of a missing woman. It received 38,000 shares in a matter of days. After just one year on Facebook, the Sheriff''s Department in Massac County, Illinois is nearing the 1,000 fan mark. The department has made nearly a dozen arrests relating to metal thefts and wanted fugitives.
Captain Hicks says things have certainly changed during his 17 years on the force, "I remember for years you'd knock on doors to see if neighbors or other businesses had cameras or anybody had seen anything and now, you can just got to your computer and load what you've got and people call in."
Hicks says to date, 3/4 of what has been posted on Facebook has been solved.
"We're just hoping our likes go up," he said of continuing to fight crime in the future.
"I probably wouldn't use it myself but I would probably give it a like," Kirk Dripps admits of being a new fan of Facebook.
The Benton Police Department Facebook fan page has nearly 300 likes. However, Hicks says, certain pictures and other information has been shared 3,000 times