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Beloit Police Department Uses Social Media to Solve Crime

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The woman accused of a hit and run that injured a 9-year-old boy is now behind bars.

24-year-old Amber Mayfield was taken into custody by Beloit Police on Sunday, for allegedly hitting a boy on a bike, with her car, at the intersection of Madison and McKinley last week. The incident was caught on tape.

The department used social media to post the surveillance video of the hit and run. From there, the Beloit community took action, sharing the department’s Facebook post over 1,700 times. The post itself was viewed over 155,000 times.

“We received several tips. And then we had another officer observe the vehicle again. We made a traffic stop on the vehicle,” said Captain Dan Molland.

“We received a tremendous collaboration with the community,” said Molland. “It was astonishing; it was great to see that this wasn’t just a police department effort. This was a community-wide effort and collaboration and we were able to ultimately make an arrest.”

Molland says that putting a suspect’s picture up on Facebook can sometimes even cause them to turn themselves in, because they don’t like seeing their face connected to crime.

“[We’ve had cases where] they didn’t like that their picture was on our Facebook, and they actually turned themselves in and were actually requesting us to take it down,” Molland said.

It’s all part of a new social media effort by Beloit’s interim police chief, who has now trained shift commanders to reach out to the public using social media. According to a report by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 85% of agencies which use social media say it does solve crimes — just as the video post of this crime did.

“I’d like to say thank you to the community for their efforts in this,” said Molland.

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