Social media can be a very helpful tool, but it needs to be used with understanding and respect.

Central Region OPP Sergeant Peter Leon says a site like Facebook or Twitter can be useful to help in police investigations by spreading details about crimes in the area. But, he says if you see a post about a crime on Facebook, you need to make sure you know all the facts before clicking share.

Leon says if you have details on a crime you need to contact police first before posting it on Facebook. Bracebridge OPP recently had to step in after a man was accused of criminal activity on social media after offering ‘McGruff’ safety and child ID kits to locals over the phone in Muskoka. The OPP found he was working for a legitimate organization.

But, Leon says there are times when social media can help solve crimes both big and small. A recent campaign in partnership between the OPP and Barrie Police saw murder charges being laid in a near 30-year-old investigation into the deaths of two people. Leon says this new type of public engagement is a game-changer for the police.

The OPP is hoping the public can help again with the most recent Simcoe County Files initiative, focusing on the investigation into the death of Jaimee Lee Miller. Her remains were discovered in Springwater Township in 2016 and police are still looking for details on the events that led to her death. You can find more details on that investigation here.

Leon says if you see a post about a local crime on social media and you’re unsure about its legitimacy, it’s always best to contact your local OPP detachment first.

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