Personally, I have never been a huge fan of social networking. That’s probably because I have always believed the networks to be a security risk. I have researched scams, seen crimes against children and have read reports of robberies, all because of the bad people on social networks.
These sites started with the best intentions-to connect with family, friends and co-workers. As we well know, things started with the best intentions are able to be corrupted by criminals.
Criminals will surf these sites looking for victims. They look for any useful information –addresses, dates of births, Social Security numbers, people going out of town, children’s names. The list goes on.
Criminals lie. And it’s easy because of the anonymity of the Internet.
All of this is a good reminder to play it safe on social networking sites. Use them, but use them wisely. Don’t list private information. Keep an eye on your children because you know they use them, even if they tell you they don’t.
Now, from a police standpoint, social networking is a fantastic tool.
The SSPD has popular Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please look us up. We keep the citizens updated on community events, public meetings, safety issues, road closures and lookouts on criminals, such as a bank robbery suspect or a hit and run. We put the information out there and before you know, it goes out to thousands of people and then they forward it to thousands of others.
Speaking of communicating with the public, Sandy Springs police utilize a service called Nixle. Nixle is a Community Information Service dedicated to helping you stay connected to the information that matters most to you, depending on your location. You stay connected to the SSPD on important information that is relevant to you. Information is immediately available over your cellphone by text message, by email, and over the web.
Your account can be customized so you receive the information that matters most to you. Whether it is where you live, work, or have friends or family throughout the country, the information is immediately available to you over your mobile phone, email and computer. Check out www.nixle.com.
Officer Larry Jacobs is the Crime Prevention Officer for the Sandy Springs Police Department. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.