WATERLOO, Iowa -- Law enforcement agencies in Black Hawk County have social media to thank for putting more criminals behind bars.
Since Cedar Valley Crimestoppers started using Facebook, tips and arrests have increased. Scrolling through their page reveals things like pictures of people recently arrested, information on cold cases, and surveillance photos of people authorities need help identifying
Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers liaison Brice Lippert posts to the organization's Facebook page at least once a day. He says since Crime Stoppers started in the area two years ago, they've made about 174 arrests as a result of Crime Stoppers tips. He says a lot of that has to do with social media.
Facebook makes it easy for people to share photos of missing sex offenders or unidentified criminals, helping them spread the word. People can also browse through old photos and have given information on cases that have been open for months or even years, giving officers the break they needed in the case.
"Every time you see a surveillance photo on Crime Stoppers, that's a photo that got put up their as a last resort, that we passed around and couldn't solve. All those pictures are cases that probably would have gone unsolved," said Lippert.
Crime Stoppers allows people to provide tips anonymously via phone or online. Rewards are given for tips that lead to arrests. Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers has paid out about $15,000 for tips over the last two years.