Long Hill PD asks residents to report crimes to them, not just post about it on Facebook

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The Long Hills Police Department is urging the town’s residents to report crimes to police; don’t just make posts about it on community pages on Facebook.

Police departments across the state say that they have noticed an uptick of people who are witnesses of crimes or victims of crimes posting about the incidents on social media. The problem is that no one is actually calling the police about the issue.

“And it seems to be that that is becoming the norm. People are taking their concerns with their lives and their concerns with their neighborhoods to social media before calling the appropriate authorities,” says Chief Ahmed Naga.

In one recent case, a resident posted surveillance video of someone stealing a package off of their porch. In another, a resident warned on a Facebook forum of a strange car idling in the neighborhood.

“Here you have a resident not only advising their neighbors, but saying, ‘That vehicle was in my driveway,” Naga says.

Police were not called in either case – both were discovered on social media as officers scrolled through popular local group pages - something they do on downtime, with no dedicated staff to monitor social media. The chief says that it takes away precious investigation time.

In the stolen package case, “We could have put it out to surrounding departments and captured the suspect in this case, but instead, 40 minutes went by before we even knew that that post was out there,” Naga says.

That is 40 minutes versus the normal 2-minute response time when someone calls 911. Naga says that it is never wrong to call the police if a resident has a concern.

“It may seem silly. It may seem like you don’t want to bother the police department. This is what we are paid for. We’re here to address your concerns and we will never turn anyone away for a report of any kind of suspicious activity,” Naga says.

Long Hill's mayor says they have a similar posting problem when it comes to township business - rumors starting and spreading. He recommends locals call to get their facts straight, before they risk the reputation of their town by posting misinformation online.

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