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Social Media Helps Tulsa Police Solve More Crimes

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Tulsa Police Officer Jeanne MacKenzie posts a photo of TPD's Weekly Most Wanted suspects. Tulsa Police Officer Jeanne MacKenzie posts a photo of TPD's Weekly Most Wanted suspects.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Social media sites are known for their ability to reach a lot of people in a short amount of time and Tulsa Police said one popular form of social media is actually helping them to solve more crimes.

"It's helped us in a lot of ways because it's an outlet to get information or to talk to people," said Officer Jeanne MacKenzie, TPD Crime Stoppers Coordinator and Public Information Officer. 

The TPD Facebook page has more than 53,270 'likes' or followers, and people regularly interact with the page by sharing posts on their own pages, especially when it comes to helping police identify people of interest in crimes.

MacKenzie said TPD has had a presence on social media for quite a while, but began to actively use Facebook about five years ago. 

"We started realizing that the information we're putting out there on social media is helping us solve crimes, identify people and locate people," she said. 

TPD regularly posts photos of suspects in burglaries and robberies taken from surveillance videos and MacKenzie said they get numerous tips from multiple people based on those photos alone. 

"If the photos are really good, we could get dozens of tips," she said. "A lot of it is Crime Stoppers stuff and we want people to report through Crime Stoppers because we can reward you for the information." 

In 2016, Crime Stoppers tips led to 57 felony arrests, seven homicide suspects, eight robbery cases that were closed, 10 bank robberies that were solved and 13 stolen or illegal firearms were removed from Tulsa streets, MacKenzie said. 

"A lot of those Crime Stoppers tips come in because of our Facebook or Twitter posts that we send out, the 'most wanted' and 'can you help us identify this person?' posts," she said. 

Sometimes, suspects use social media to incriminate themselves, MacKenzie said, referring to a Tulsa man who stole a TPD patrol car in October, led police on a chase and streamed the entire incident on Facebook Live.

10/31/2016 Related Story: Man Streams Live On Facebook While Being Chased In Stolen Tulsa Police Car 

"A lot of people post things or say things on Facebook that incriminate themselves," she said. "When we go to court, there's no way to dispute that's not you because you've obviously recorded yourself and you've posted it out there for all the world to see." 

MacKenzie said Facebook and Twitter also allow TPD the opportunity to share the positive stories of the Tulsa Police. 

"It also gets out good things we've done, the lives we've saved, things officers have done for people on calls. The little random acts of kindness," MacKenzie said. "Not only do we use it to identify and locate people, we like to use it to promote the Tulsa Police Department and our officers and what we do as a whole."

TPD is active on Facebook and Twitter (@TulsaPolice) and they plan to begin using Instagram. 

Though they don't have a mobile app, Crime Stoppers has a mobile app available in the App Store for Apple devices and in the Google Play store for Android devices, and it's listed as 'Tulsa Tips.' 

"We're solving more crimes because of social media," MacKenzie said. "With social media, with phones, body cams, dashcams, all the different ways we have to identify people and getting it out to the public and getting it out to places that help us identify people, it's helping us solve more crimes."

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