LEAVE solving crime to the experts say police after a local Facebook site incorrectly reported on a shooting in Glenroi over the weekend.
The Facebook page, Report All in Orange NSW - with other Towns and Articles of Interest, has around 400 members and encourages people to report on any crimes, accidents, lost or found items or traffic issues that affect the local community.
It promises its members it has a “zero tolerance to suspicious activity”.
However despite the website’s commitment to “inform the community” Canobolas Local Area Command duty officer Peter Atkins questioned the necessity of such a site.
“There’s no way of verifying its accuracy,” Inspector Atkins said.
He said the fact there was no shooting in Glenroi over the weekend served as a reminder that inaccurate information can make its way onto social networking sites.
“If people want to report crimes then they should contact us directly,” Inspector Atkins said.
“Private sites are of limited use.”
Inspector Atkins said the police force had recently embraced social media through the establishment of an official Facebook site, Canobolas LAC - NSW Police Force.
However, the site is about informing the public about police initiatives, rather than reporting crimes.
Inspector Atkins said while police have in the past turned to social media, private sites such as Report All in Orange NSW were not monitored by police.
“I think there's lots of evidence to suggest you can't believe everything you read on social networking sites,” he said.
Despite Inspector Atkins’ reservations Denise O'Hara, whose Leura Place house was broken into on Friday evening, said she hoped a Facebook page established by her daughter would provide information about the theft of a large amount of money, camera and equipment.
“There's more chance of me getting it back through word of mouth than anything else,” she said.
Just 24 hours after her daughter had established the website around 400 people had already expressed their support for Ms O'Hara and read her daughter's plea for information about the incident.