Police Departments Compelled To Be On Social Media Now?

This is a video I took at a community meeting in Long Beach January 8, 2020. Commander Patrick O’Dowd is giving an update to the Belmont Heights Community Association about a sexual predator stalking women and girls in the neighbordhood. Here’s the part I want to highlight to this group.


  • Commander O’Dowd says that it is good to go on Nextdoor, as people have been doing, and warn others about the man, but that is not a replacement for giving a police report. 01:11:00
  • Commander O’Dowd, while still encouraging people to actually call the cops AND post Nextdoor rather than JUST posting on Nextdoor, said that East Division will now be actively monitoring Nextdoor. 51:02:00
  • Commander O’Dowd said they want to look at Nextdoor history and see who all said they had an encounter with the man and talk to those women or girls. And going forward they want to monitor Nextdoor. 14:18:00

People are so used to “reporting” things on social media that they are not trained/too impatient/reluctant to actual file police reports. So Commander O’Dowd now has to expend resources monitoring Nextdoor in order to keep on top crime in his designated area. The thing is, Belmont Heights is a mostly White, upper middle class area. It is not a neighborhood that has a historically “complicated” relationship with police.

It’s nothing new that the feds scour social media for terrorist threats, jihad forums, white nationalist websites and whathaveyou. But to have a white, upper class neighborhood where the division chief basically says “Well, since you all are so lazy and won’t file reports, it is hindering my ability to bring this sexual predator to justice. So now I’ve got to spend resources scouring Nextdoor for what you guys report about this perv.”


Part of the problem is that you cannot get police to show up for many calls anymore. Granted - this is more important than some calls… But…

When you have a theft and you want to make a report - you get told to file a report online or come get a form… No one is coming to your location…

Car Accident? If no one is hurt, they will not be doing a report on the accident. And, in many places, they won’t even come to the scene if there are no injuries.

Loose dog? Dog catcher won’t come out unless someone has actually been bitten…

And, there may be more examples. These are just ones I have PERSONALLY had. Me. Myself…

And, I WORK in the criminal justice field.

And, if you DO get someone to come out, it can take hours in larger cities… These can be some of the reasons why people don’t call anymore, or make reports… After getting turned down several times, I can see why people might stop calling…

Now, is that the case for everyone? No… And, I am not justifying what some are doing here. But when you keep calling for other things, and you get turned down to have an officer come out to the scene - I could see many people give up on calling for almost anything.

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I completely agree with @Mistershipwreck, unfortunately, some areas have a severe lack of police showing up or willing to do what it takes to make something happen. I happen to live in one of these areas where half the time it takes them hours to show up if they show up at all and if they do show up a lot of the time they won’t do anything. I think this type of mentality makes it around on social media to the point that people start just looking out for others and warning others of things that are going on. Occasionally there are good cops that do their jobs and try to resolve situations but its hard to tell when you are going to get a good one or a bad one so it’s easier just to warn others.


I live in a Small town in Indiana. Bedford, Indiana to be exact. Our local city police started using Facebook well before it seemed other department’s did. I actually remember coverage on the local news channel about their unique approach. Wanted Wednesdays. They now use it almost on a daily basis to request help from the public in locating suspects in thefts or where a suspect was hard to identify. I for one welcome the partnership with Law enforcement. Many people prefer online as opposed to speaking with real people So why not make it safe to reach out to your local police department online for assistance?

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Times are changing, and the police need to change with them. The way people prefer to communicate is online now. I am sure there was a time when cops balked at the idea of reports being typed rather than handwritten.

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I would also guess, unless there is an official police report, there isn’t much the police can actually do anyway.

Unless they happen to stumble over him in the act, don’t they need the police report as a basis for an investigation? Certainly over here, there would be an uproar if the police started monitoring social media and picking people up off the streets on that basis - it would be unconstitutional in Germany and break DSGVO (German GDPR implementation) rules.

Reminds me of the apocryphal story in the UK from the 60s/70s, where a man phones and reports an intruder in his house. The police tell him to lock himself in a room, they can’t get anyone there within an hour. So he replies, “fine, I’ll just get my shotgun and shoot him.”

2 minutes later there are half a dozen police cars surrounding the premises. The police storm in, apprehend the thief and then talk to the owner, “I thought you said you had a shotgun?”

“And I thought you said, you couldn’t get anyone here inside an hour!”

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And that is one of the biggest problems we seem to be facing, in Germany, people are calling 110/112 (police and fire) and asking mundane questions that have nothing to do with an emergency - information about ingredients in a recipe or similar “emergencies”.

Yes, I have heard many stories. If you mention “gun.” they show up ASAP.

I understand there are staffing problems. And right now in the USA, people don’t want to be cops because of the way they get treated in public in some US cities.

However, this trend has been going on a while, even before this somewhat recent trend of anti police treatment. Yes, some people have always hated the police. But what has happened now has started in the last 10 years or so.

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