Crime info on social media can be misleading, police say

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At a recent public meeting, Maricopa police said residents should be cautious of what they read and post on social media websites.

Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl spoke to residents Saturday during his monthly Coffee with the Chief event on how to use the department’s online crime-tracking system and ways residents can better protect themselves and their property.  

The meeting came shortly after two burglaries occurred in the Tortosa subdivision within the same week. Police said the burglaries shook up the community on social networking sites, causing confusion among residents. 

“Facebook has become a dangerous thing,” said Sgt. Leonard Perez.

Posting information about a crime on Facebook causes confusion among residents and gives the perpetrator information that can hinder an investigation, Perez added.

Checking for crime information on social networking sites can be misleading, Stahl and his officers warned. They said residents should use the department’s crime-tracking system, Residents who go to the site can find information on the latest reported crime in Maricopa by typing "Maricopa, AZ" into the search box. ( regularly posts reports generated from CrimeReports here). 

“It’s accurate info and not subjected to spin,” said Detective Michael Burns.

The effective and user-friendly program gives residents real-time updates on the crime that takes place in their area with a simple interface that allows users to track crime by type, time period and location.

“It is accurate, actionable information,” Stahl said.

With a high volume of construction and maintenance work in Tortosa bringing in more activity and unfamiliar faces, Stahl made it clear to always be vigilant.

“These break-ins are a little concerning because they are breaking the windows with rocks,” Stahl said on the recent Tortosa burglaries.

While there is some indication the burglaries were done by amateurs, Stahl said it is too early in the investigation to draw any conclusions.

“Criminals are notoriously lazy people, looking for moments of opportunity,” Perez said.


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