Did your mother ever admonish you by saying something like: “Think before you act” or “A picture is worth a thousand words”? Like all cautionary tales, there’s wisdom in these statements that make them timeless and worth repeating. And they are especially important to remember if you have been a victim of a crime.
With waves of criminal activity hitting our communities, we do our best to protect ourselves from being victims. We lock our doors, leave the lights on, and invest in techie security systems. Because, honestly, who wants to suffer or feel unsafe because of the actions of others? Yet sophisticated alarms and high-tech cameras will not always act as deterrents for determined criminals and we find ourselves victims of their illegal acts.
So what do you do when your security is breached and in your outrage, realize it’s all on tape? Your sense of ease may be shaken, but at least there is some consolation in knowing you now have graphic evidence that could lead to the capture of the criminal, and hopefully it can be used to mete out some kind of justice as well.
But Victims Beware! Sometimes there is a tendency to act and speak out before we think, just like Mom warned us about……and now, we can use a variety of social media outlets to solicit help and solace. Justifiable indignation may be the motivation behind going after those who have breached our safety, but one local police department is warning people to exercise some discretion before taking the law into their own hands. The Tacoma Police Department wants people to think twice before sharing evidence of crimes or misconduct on social media; otherwise the investigation could be over before it even begins!
While social media has proven invaluable in catching thousands of suspects, and bringing justice to victims of their crimes, the police department warns that uploading personal information and footage as a strategy to capture someone is risky, and can sometimes backfire for these victims and their families.
Problems come when people take their video and pictures to social media before they take them to the police. “Once you do that, you basically tie our hands when we are able to catch the guy because we have nothing to use against him in court,” said Tacoma police officer Loretta Cool. She explained that evidence posted on social media could taint their efforts to identify unbiased witnesses.
Before you post anything related to a personal injury, a criminal activity caught on surveillance in your home or on your property, and even footage of hit-and-run accidents, take it to the authorities first. If you want to share evidence online, police suggest checking with the detective working your case first. And understand, investigations take time, and victims should leave the police work to police. “If they let us work the cases for a little bit, they’ll probably get the satisfaction they want,” said Cool.
Media tips and video are powerful tools and evidence in the capturing of thousands of criminals across the country, but don’t let justice escape you by tainting the evidence by acting without thinking first. Remember to take it to the authorities before your friends on social media. Like Mom always said, “Better safe than sorry”, right?
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a crime or a hit-and-run accident, don’t hesitate to contact Fielding Law Group today for help.
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