CALL IT IN: Police are urging people not to use social media to report crimes.
CALL IT IN: Police are urging people not to use social media to report crimes. Brett Wortman

Facebook crime reports hinder police, 'hurt' community

POLICE are urging residents to report crimes to them rather than on social media, as they say it can spark unnecessary concern within the community.

Senior Constable Noel Pedersen said many people posted to social media thinking they were doing the right thing, but in fact they were making work harder for officers.

"Posting on social media and venting is something which people do, but that doesn't necessarily help us," he said.

"So somebody who is going online and saying they have had something happen to them doesn't mean we are aware of it.

"Police can't always monitor what is happening on social media in these closed groups.

"A lot of these crimes may go unreported, which doesn't help us with allocating our resources or our staffing structure.

"We need people to report these instances to police so we can deploy our resources to the best possible use."

Senior Constable Pedersen said sometimes posts could cause hysteria in suburbs because you could not always be 100% sure what people were saying online was true.

"People posting on social media doesn't always reflect statistically what is happening," he said.

"Perception can be a bad thing, and perception on a closed group on Facebook can have it look like crime is out of control, when that might not be the case.

"At the end of the day, we want to stop crime in our area, but we can't do that if people aren't using the correct protocols to report something.

"In the end, all that does is hurt the local population because we can't investigate these properly."