Social media has come under fire by both Pinjarra and Mandurah police this week, who are reminding the community to think before posting and report crimes directly to authorities.
Pinjarra Police reminded the community what they said online could lead to criminal charges, in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
“Pinjarra Police would like to remind community members that posting comments to social media pages that are untrue can lead to criminal charges and civil proceedings for defamation,” the post said.
“There are two sides to every story – be careful and don't believe everything you read!”
Pinjarra Police would like to remind community members that posting comments to social media pages that are untrue can lead to criminal charges and civil proceedings for defamation. There are two sides to every story - be careful and don't believe everything you read!— Pinjarra Police (@PinjarraPol) October 9, 2018
Mandurah Police officer in charge Senior Sergeant Darren Hart asked the community to report crime directly to police.
“In the Mandurah Police subdistrict, from Secret Harbour down to Lake Clifton, there is a number of suburban social media pages,” he said.
“They can be quite useful tools for a member of the community to alert their neighbours to something that might be going on.
“But it is important if you have had your pushbike stolen from your front veranda, for example, by all means warn your neighbours – but you have to remember to report it to police as well.
“Don’t assume that if you put it on social media, the police will know about it because there is too much information out there on social media pages for us to keep track of it all.
“We rely on people to report directly to us, so we can be aware of what is going on.”
We rely on people to report directly to us, so we can be aware of what is going on.
Despite this, Senior Sergeant Hart said social media was an “excellent tool” which had essentially replaced Neighbourhood Watch.
“Social media has taken over the role of actually talking to each other, which can be helpful in some regard, because if I see a dodgy blue car in my street twice this week I can let everyone know,” he said.
“Then that can be reported to police.
“The danger is a lot of people tend to fixate on the negative, so if you are posting about the dodgy blue car, I would stress to people to frame that in a productive, positive way.
“If you are trying to sell your house or someone is looking to move to the area, we want people to see that when there is something going on in the suburb, we have this connected network of people looking out for each other.
“As opposed to people who are locked in their house and fearful they will be broken into at any moment, which is completely not the case.”