People have no doubt read stories over the past few years about criminals who were tracked down by police officers who searched their social media postings. There have even been the occasional unintelligent criminals who were nabbed after actually bragging about their crimes on their Facebook pages.
The San Francisco Police Department is looking to social media to help it identify criminals and solve crimes. The Line-Up is a crime prevention tool that invites public participation through social media to solve cold case files. You can watch video surveillance of suspects committing crimes and can contact police with tips (anonymously, if you desire). SFPD releases one video each week of suspects involved in a criminal act. See the videos at sanfranciscopolice.org/index.aspx?page=4091.
Fun fact: The Lineup was a 1950s television series; it was set in San Francisco and was produced in cooperation with the SFPD.
The crimes below are a small snapshot of what the officers of Northern Station are doing. For a more comprehensive list, visit sf-police.org; under Compstat, select the link to CrimeMAPS.
Aug. 16, 3.22 a.m.
1800 Block of Laguna Street
A young officer and his field training officer responded to a report of an auto burglary in progress. The subject was known to the caller, who was able to give the police the name and clothing description of the subject. Officers were able to detain the subject matching the description, and upon searching him, they found numerous items that could be used to break into vehicles or as weapons. He was transported to Northern Station and booked. He had numerous warrants for his arrest, and he was wanted for violating parole conditions.
Near where the subject was detained, the officers also discovered a number of household items and the “boosted” vehicle, which was identified by its owner.
ALWAYS WEAR SEAT BELTS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A CAR THIEF
Aug. 17, 3:24 a.m.
Van Ness Avenue at Fell Street
A car pulled up alongside officers on patrol, and they noticed that the driver did not have his seatbelt buckled. They ran a computer check on the car and learned that it had been reported stolen. They pulled over the car, arrested the driver and detained the passenger. They noticed that the car had a Scion key jammed into the Honda ignition, and they were unable to remove the key. The car and its occupants were transported to Northern Station for investigation and identification purposes.
The driver turned out to have several outstanding warrants for his arrest, and the passenger was read his Miranda rights and agreed to speak with the officers. He told them that he didn’t know that the car was stolen; he had seen his friend, the driver, on Sixth Street and asked him if he could sleep in the car for the night. He got in, and they drove around until the police stopped him. He was released from the station.
The driver also spoke to the police after hearing his Miranda rights. He told them that he had borrowed the car from a friend. He said he saw the wrong key jammed into the ignition and figured the car might have been stolen, and he was on his way to return the car when the police stopped him.
He was booked at Northern Station.
7 TO 10 YEARS OF BAD LUCK
Aug. 18, 2:06 a.m.
Lombard at Laguna Streets
A caller alerted officers to an intoxicated subject who was kicking the side mirrors off of vehicles. Provided with a description and direction of travel for the subject, officers soon found him standing in the roadway wildly kicking at the driver’s mirror of a Cadillac. They approached and said “Police, stop,” but the subject looked at them and began to walk and then run away. After a brief chase, the subject fell and was handcuffed after a brief struggle.
Numerous witnesses told the officers they had the right person. They said he was going wild, punching and kicking cars in the area. The subject was booked for eight counts of felony vandalism.
Aug. 24, 7:05 a.m.
2200 Block of Lombard Street
Plainclothes officers noticed a male subject walking down the sidewalk carrying a large coat stand and paintings. They knew that there were no stores open in the area selling such items, and they were also aware that the area has many auto and some home burglaries. They approached the subject, identified themselves as police, and asked if the subject was on parole or probation. He said he was on probation for mail/package theft. The subject said he followed someone into their building once and took a few packages.
A computer check revealed an outstanding warrant for his arrest. He was booked at Northern Station, and the property was booked for safekeeping.