CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you see a crime happening, call 911. Seems like common sense, right?

More and more people are turning to social media to report crimes and never actually talking to a police officer.

Earlier this week, someone was driving down South Tryon Street when they noticed a baby climbing around in the backseat of a car. They recorded video and posted it on social media, even tagged CMPD, but never called 911.

Charotte-Mecklenburg Police want to remind everyone they cannot investigate if you just post about crimes, you have to actually call them.

"It could be hours later before someone sees it," said Tim Aycock with Matthews Police. "It is a problem for us because we worry about it being a dire emergency."

We see well-meaning messages on our social media pages all the time, like a neighbor who posted about inappropriate behavior in a grocery store parking lot but admitted she didn't call police.

"I think that's kind of a secondary step to notify everyone. We want everyone to call into the police department first," said Aycock.

Police receive a lot of tips on social media sites.

"Those pages are not always monitored 24/7," he said.

In some cases, the delay makes it harder to catch the person responsible.

"We want all that vital information given directly to us from a complainant or the witness or the victim as soon as possible," said Aycock.

Sure enough, in the case of the roaming baby in the backseat, CMPD said they didn't get the social media tip right away.

While it's tempting to share the information with your social world, Aycock said first ask yourself this question.

"Is it a question that can be answered in a couple of hours versus an emergency that needs to be addressed?"


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