Monterey County

Law enforcement: Call 911 before posting about crimes on social media

Social media vs. 911

SALINAS, Calif. - In an age when technology is at our finger tips, sometimes we can be quick to report a crime on social media—even before notifying the proper authorities.

Local law enforcement told us this has been a growing trend over the last year.

"We don't want somebody to take matters into their own hands and then themselves get in trouble," said Salinas Police Det. Bryon Gansen.

Julie Foucht is one of the co-founders of Monterey Park Neighborhood Watch in Salinas. She agrees with Det. Gansen, and said her group is designed to build awareness.

"What our neighbors learned when they started talking to each other, (they started) learning who lives here, and who belongs here, and who doesn't belong here," said Foucht.  "(And) they became empowered."

Foucht has been living in Salinas with her husband for more than ten years. She enjoys strolling around the neighborhood and taking her grandchildren to the nearby park.

"This is a great part of Salinas," said Foucht.

But she doesn't always feel safe. One night her husband witnessed a crime right outside their front door.

"He looked out the window at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and watched a drug deal happen on the sidewalk right in front of our house," said Foucht.

Foucht told us she always calls the police first before posting information like that online.

"That's not our job. If you see someone suspicious who's looking into windows along the street call the police--we are taking control, but we are not policing," said Foucht.

Police want to stress they're not telling people to not post crimes on Facebook, they just ask that you call 911 before taking to the web.

"We would just like to get the best response, the best information, and try and protect the public as quickly as possible by catching the suspects," said Detective Gansen.

Police say when a crime occurs those first few minutes after it happens can give police a crucial head start toward making an arrest, so the sooner they can get that information the better.

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