Police use social media to help catch suspects

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) – Click play on the above video and you’ll start watching one of the dozens of real-life crime videos posted to YouTube by Waterbury police.

The videos, photos and mug shots are now being aired on a new Waterbury police YouTube channel which shares its content on the Waterbury police Facebook page.

The latest video is of a botched armed robbery at a local 7-Eleven, where there are 16 different security camera inside and outside the store. The suspect got away but only after a clerk struck him with a pipe.

But Waterbury police say this type of surveillance is something that they can use with social media to really get the word out. And a new computer program is guiding the way.

“It’s a program the Philadelphia Police Department is using and we are modeling it after them,” said deputy police chief Chris Corbett. “Our officers recently went through some training and we acquired the software.”

Detectives have only been using the new editing program for a couple weeks. It allows them to slow down and zoom in on certain telling characteristics and label them to draw attention to what is important.

Their first video post, which captured footage of a shooting at Pandora’s night club, got 10,000 hits in the first 30 minutes and the numbers doubled since.

“We had over 21,000 hits on it on our Facebook page, where we were able to identify two of the suspects so far,” Corbett said. “So, it has been very successful.”

The video channel lets citizens watch crimes on their phones, tablets and computers, all in hopes someone might know something and come forward.

“We are getting their faces out there,” Corbett said. “More and more people are seeing the video and pictures of the suspects and calling us with information. It is another tool we use in criminal investigations.”

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