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Social Media No Substitute For Calling Police

Updated: Thursday, January 30 2014, 06:05 PM CST

Folks nowadays rush to Facebook to post about crime in their neighborhood. And then they complain that police aren't doing anything about it. Well, maybe it's because they're leaving the police out of the conversation.

When Mark Brandon Dominguez died two years ago while trying to stop a teen car burglar, it prompted his neighbors to take action. Roger Casanova founded a social media group called Community Advocates for a Safer Austin.  

Casanova says, "I think it's critical in this time and age that. We've got technology. We need to take advantage of it. And this is where we're at now. It's everybody."

But now police officers are worried people are posting their concerns on social media and not reporting these crimes to them.  

Senior Police Officer Veneza Bremner says, "It's not easy for us to follow and choose what problems people are having or what kinds of incidents are occurring. And what if we miss one?"

Casanova stresses to his followers that Facebook pages and community organizations are not 911. He says people turn to social media when they think their concern is not serious enough for 911 adding, "Some people are afraid they'll get in trouble if they call 911. What I tell people is that when in doubt call 911. The dispatcher will transfer you to 311 if it's not a crisis."

APD emphasizes that whether it be a property crime, a violent crime, any kind of crime, it needs to go through the proper channels of filing the report via phone or the iReport system on their web site so it can be assigned to the appropriate person. 

So what the police are saying is if you spot a problem don't just Facebook it, report it.

By Fred Cantu

Social Media No Substitute For Calling Police

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