Social media can help catch criminals

June 07, 2013 at 9:18 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The importance of social media was once again on display during a recent rash of burglaries that primarily took place in Luling.

As St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne took to his Facebook page to warn residents of the burglaries, his messages spread like wildfire across the site. The Herald-Guide also posted Champagneís info and soon thousands of residents were talking about the burglaries and sharing information, which even included descriptions of the perpetrators.

Authorities are now searching for a white male and young white female who are traveling in a compact silver four-door vehicle very similar to a Chevy Volt. Champagne said the female is short and acts as the lookout/getaway driver while the white male has been seen wearing a baseball cap.

While the burglars have not yet been caught, Champagneís Facebook posts also served as a way for him to tell residents when the burglars were likely to strike. That led to many becoming concerned that their children would be home during the day when the burglaries occurred.

Champagne was able to ease concerns through Facebook, informing parents that the burglars were not likely to enter a home with someone inside. That message, which included tips Champagne offered for kids at home in case a burglar did knock on their door, was seen by thousands of residents.

After Champagne warned residents to stay vigilant, one person did just that. An alert neighbor took a photo of a man taking items from a nearby home and shared the photo on Facebook. Champagne and the Herald-Guide both helped spread the photo around Facebook, which led to thousands of residents getting a first hand look at the burglar. While the man in the photo isnít connected to the recent string of burglaries, he will soon be caught because so many have seen his photo.

So continue to be alert, and if you havenít already done so, get a Facebook account and follow Champagne and the Herald-Guide. The information you get from social media just might help prevent further crime.

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