RENO, Nev. (KOLO) In the case of four recent murders in Douglas and Washoe Counties, social media played a major role in the investigation.
“It’s about acting quickly, and in this homicide, that was one of our biggest things, was knowing that this information was already out there. We had to get ahead and act and make sure the community knew what was happening and then more important that we were keeping the community safe,” Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam says.
He says social groups can be helpful but it’s imperative that people get information from credible sources.
“Rumor mill,” Balaam says. “I saw so many posts out there and tweets about the individual lived in Spanish Springs, the individual was, you know, and none of that was true.”
Local Facebook groups like Gardnerville Ranchos Neighborhood Watch say they monitor every post.
“We will not accept posts unless they are verifiable; as of recent that was a new recent rule that came up,” Cory Baird, founder of the group, says.
While authorities worked to track the suspect, the South Reno Moms group provided support and safety recommendations.
“We had a member who was related to one of the people who passed away here in south Reno, so there was a lot of support for that particular member, and we had people sharing where they get home security systems and what are the best deals in town to find those types of things,” Lauren Bradfield, who founded the group, says.
Balaam says sharing in a group is a great way to stay connected and keep neighbors informed, but it’s crucial that people report all crimes to law enforcement.
“Even if it’s just footsteps in the snow because it’s winter time, let us know so that we can have a report of it so that if we have reports later on a block away, we can put those cases together and make sure there’s no victims out there that may have had something taken and it helps us in our cases,” Balaam says.