OUR OPINION: Facebook crime reports do little to stop criminals

Published 8:00 am Friday, August 19, 2022

Multiple times a week, every week, we see posts in community Facebook groups of possible crimes that have taken place.

From blurry black-and-white home security camera screenshots to words in all-caps begging others “DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS PERSON,” it seems as though many have forgotten that Vicksburg and Warren County has a group of dedicated law enforcement officers who can address crime in the real world.

There have been several instances lately in which crimes have been reported on Facebook before the proper authorities were called. While it’s frustrating, demeaning and downright violating to be the victim of a crime, we as citizens cannot expect our law enforcement agencies to monitor social media looking for cases.

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For example, one subdivision in Warren County had a string of burglaries in the last month. The “evidence” was splashed across social media before the sheriff’s office had a chance to blink.

Of course, we want justice when we’ve been wronged — but virtual exposure of suspected criminals is just that. Without action beyond the keyboard, this action is futile. Fortunately for criminals, it seems they’re not affected by embarrassment afflicted by a social media post.

So what are we to do when we find ourselves on the receiving end of a criminal act?

There are a few options.

For emergencies (if you or someone else is injured, shot, or involved in a car wreck with injuries, if you’ve been attacked or witnessed a medical episode or crime actively taking place), call 911. When in doubt, call 911.

For non-emergencies in the city limits, you can call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511 or the city of Vicksburg Action Line at 601-636-3411. In Warren County, you can call the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 601-636-1761.

Don’t be afraid to call law enforcement when you’re in need. We’ve seen our officers handle everything from routine traffic stops to standoffs and even a rogue alligator in a swimming pool.

Our law enforcement officers are eager to help others — after all, they’re sworn to protect and serve.

But if you don’t call them when you need them, there’s not much they can do.