Getting to know your thief on Facebook

FRESNO, Calif.

One entry is titled "Who is stealing your car." There's a mug shot of a woman, and the line, "I may be." It goes on to say the woman has been arrested three times for car theft.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer sees the postings as a public service. He said, "The purpose is to provide awareness to members of our community."

Chief Dyer says the goal is to help citizens keep an eye out for potential trouble makers. He's frustrated that repeat offenders are being let out of jail and committing more crimes.

"People that we have arrested and re-arrested prolific thieves that are committing crimes within our neighborhoods are people we are putting on the Facebook. We're very selective who we put on there," Chief Dyer said. "We certainly don't want to cast any conclusion out there about the guilt of these individuals because that's what the court of law is for."

But judging by the comments from citizens on the police department's Facebook page, those listed as someone who "may" commit crimes, have already been tried and convicted. One comment said, "My gun is ready when she tries to jack my ride."

Christina Orozco leads the Neighborhood Watch Patrol in the Tower District. She sees the Facebook postings as a tool to fight crime.

Orozco explained, "I think it's a great tool it notifies more people across the city who's repeat offenders stealing our cars, breaking into our homes, and if we can know who these people are we can proactively prevent them from committing those crimes because when we see them on our streets we already know they need to be watched."

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