Residents posting about crime activity online before alerting authorities

FOOTHILLS, Ariz. – Yuma Foothills residents are taking to the internet to report crimes hours even days before informing local authorities. The reports claim a rise in crime near their homes.

Captain Eben Bratcher with Yuma County Sheriff’s Office says it is alarming that residents post crime activity online before contacting the authorities.

“We’re concerned that many of these things that we are reading about on the internet have not been reported to us,” said Bratcher.

Facebook, Twitter, and Next Door, a private social media page where people living in a certain area of town can post about what is going on in their neighborhood, have all been used to report crime and to alert others.

Bratcher says posting information online is a great way to spread the word, but authorities should be notified first.

“We do monitor social media, but we don’t monitor it 24/7,” said Bratcher.

A recent incident of this occurred on Tuesday, when a woman suspected someone to be in her back yard. She let her dog out to investigate and when it returned there was a severe cut on the dog, assumed to be a cut from a knife. The woman posted about what happened online first then contacted YCSO.

Captain Bratcher said they were notified about three hours after the incident happened. “We might have been able to catch him if we were notified immediately.”

The case is under investigation and YCSO discovered that the cut was not from a knife but from a sharp object that they believe snagged onto the dog and ripped the skin. They say they don’t believe there was a intruder holding a knife, but the dog may have chased away the intruder and was hurt in the process. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian and is expected to make a full recovery. However, it is a reminder for residents to contact local authorities first if they think a crime is occurring.

Bratcher adds that crime in the Foothills is about the same as it has been in the past according to YCSO statistics.

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