Social media provides ‘wealth of information’ for crime solving

Boone Police Department, University Police and the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office are now using social media to investigate crimes and inform the community.

University Police use social media to investigate crimes involving drugs, harassment cases, missing persons or threat assessments, Cpt. Todd Corley, the investigations commander of University Police, said.

“It’s really kind of amazing that people just put that kind of information out there about themselves,” Corley said. “It’s a very good tool for a various amount of reasons.”

Social media has been used to solve crimes, using the “wealth of information” provided since Corley joined the force in 2007, but the department’s Facebook page was just recently created.

The town of Boone Police Department began using social media to assist in their police work for the last year and a half, Cpt. Andy Lebeau said.

Lebeau said the department is still experimenting with how it can be used, but currently it plays a role in informing the community about present incidents and community involvement with law enforcement.

“We can really give out real time to benefit the citizens,” Lebeau said.

Lebeau said he views social media as “just another tool to communicate with people in Boone.”

The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office also uses social media in solving crime.

Captain Dee Dee Rominger said social media is used to discover information about individuals posting on the sites and about events that have occurred or are scheduled to occur in the future.

“Social media assists with some crimes but it has its limitations also,” Rominger said. “Sometimes the information posted on social media sites is not accurate information and can hamper the investigation.”


Story: KATELYN BYNG, Intern News Reporter