Syracuse police turn to Facebook to solve crimes

Syracuse police are delving into the world of social media and expanding the role Facebook plays in helping them solve crimes.

Chief Frank Fowler announced Tuesday an increased effort to use Facebook in communicating and interacting with citizens. The Facebook page will contain news, list department events and information along with photos and postings.

The website will now have the ability to receive text messages from cell phones so people can send in anonymous tips on crimes directly from their phone. Tips can be texted or emailed to:

Police are also updating their website with a Current Events section, giving people a chance to get emailed updates about what's going on in the department.

Syracuse police certainly aren't the first department to turn to social media to solve crimes. The Utica police department has already turned to Facebook and seen results. Utica police already have more than 1,300 followers. Cicero police have more than 1,100 followers.

In fact, so many police departments across the country are using Facebook as a crime-solving tool, that some law firms are using it to advertise. Look at this. As of Tuesday morning, Syracuse police already had more than 100 followers, and they hope that number continues to grow. "We are using Facebook and the website right now as another tool to communicate with the public on things of major interest and also as a public relations tool," Chief Fowler said. "If there is something major we are investigating, this is another avenue for us to put out feelers to see if people have information."

Syracuse police plan to sent out alerts to the public as they investigate crimes, with hopes of getting tips to solve them. They will also post information about crime trends, video of suspects and photos of people with outstanding warrants.

Police will also post information about arrests and initiatives underway within the department, along with awards and honors.

It is certainly a sign of the age we live in, with police now relying on a combination of good old detective work while utilizing a new way people share information. And they have high hopes it will land criminals where they belong.