LIMA — When the Lima Police Department created a Facebook page six months ago, officers never imagined how quickly it would grow or how effective it could be as a crime stopper.
Lima Police Sgt. Andy Green shared the Police Department’s Facebook progress with City Council on Monday night.
Because of the page, the police department quickly has caught perpetrators of multiple crimes — including a donation jar thief at Speedway and a Dollar General robber — after posting photos and videos of unidentified suspects online.
“Without the Internet, we may not have caught those people,” Green said. “And if we did, it might not have been as quickly.”
Green said the Facebook page has helped the police department broadcast positive news the public hasn’t heard. And it enables residents to send complaints or report crimes.
As of Monday night, more than 2,400 people liked the Facebook page. With people sharing posts, the reach can extend even further. Green said between April 6 and April 12, the page had 86,000 views.
“It has produced benefits that I would’ve not guessed,” said police Chief Kevin Martin. “I cannot take any credit for it. … That was entirely Sgt. Green’s initiative.”
The Facebook page will continue to expand, with the LPD detective bureau and street officers utilizing the page. The Police Department recently created a Twitter account, too.
“There’s no perfect tool,” Martin said. “It's one of many tools, but it has already proven to be a valuable tool for us in terms of trying to solve crimes that have occurred.”