SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff’s Office investigators are crediting social media neighborhood watchers for helping them find missing people and track criminals quicker.
Sgt. Elizabeth Gonzales said at least a half-dozen crimes have been solved so far this year through social media tips, and a half-dozen missing people have been found.
“We can reach a large number of people through the app when we have announcements to make for safety or crime,” Gonzales said.
In April, a shooting on Terra Cotta left one person injured and detectives had no leads. Nearby neighbors who shared video of a suspicious person through Ring’s Neighbors App made its way to detectives, giving them a starting point.
“In this case that was the link that helped us ID him, that social media communication was what helped lead us to his apprehension,” Gonzales said.
Jerome Leach was identified and charged with aggravated assault.
In July, neighbors on social media spotted a suspect who ran from detectives, and it was the Sheriff’s Office play by play on social media that lead to his arrest. Kris Hinojosa was arrested after allegedly assaulting his elderly father.
Recently, watchful neighbors in an undisclosed part of the county helped deputies arrest two people and make a narcotics seizure.
“They were reporting a lot of criminal activity that they saw,” Gonzales said. “They saw a lot of interactions they believed were drug exchanges, heavy traffic on one house they ID as being a problem.”
Detectives cannot be on social media 24 hours a day, but they appreciate those tips from concerned neighbors.
The only downside, Gonzalez said, is people need to pick up the phone and call in tips directly to the Sheriff’s Office instead of simply posting it online.
“If you have information that you are seeing on social media, please contact us,” she said.
View this post on Instagram
#BCSO Deputies purchased new Teddy Bears, Coloring Books and other toys for children in the Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital today. The toys were hand delivered by deputies who volunteered and donated as well 🐻🛍🎁😄👮🏽♂️👮🏽♀️👮🏼♂️👮🏻♂️❤️ Thank you @childrens_santarosa for allowing us to brighten their day #SgtEGonzalez