Tracking down suspects on the run is faster than ever thanks to social media

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Word spreads faster than ever these days thanks to social media.

And that even holds true when it comes to tracking down suspects on the run.

“Social media has helped us quite a bit,” said Sheriff Cliff Pinkney.

Sheriff officials said most people now have the ability to check their social media sites on their cell phones, which makes it easier for them to read, share, and respond to posts requesting assistance. And most law enforcement agencies are using social media sites.

“Just a few weeks ago, Cleveland police were looking for help tracking down a suspect in an aggravated vehicular homicide,” said Bill Jelenic, of CrimeStoppers of Cuyahoga County. “We posted it on our Facebook page and within hours the suspect was in custody, in jail.”

John O’Brien, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, says in the past seven years more than 4,840 people have been taken into custody as a result of information the sheriff’s office received from Facebook posts.

“It’s really significant numbers,” O’Brien said.