Social media posts becomes effective tool in fighting crime

With changing of times, comes changing police tactics. For one local police department that can mean social media and a little humor.

Police work is no laughing matter, but follow the Middletown Township Police Department's Facebook page--you'll think a comedian was behind the keyboard.

"If you make post like that it goes viral quickly cause people think it's funny and it actually gets around faster," Matt Cyrana said.

The page's 9,000 followers got a post Tuesday after an alleged shoplifter hit up the Macy's at Oxford Valley Mall.

It says, "This guy right here is a big fan of Tommy Hilfiger jackets and Polo sweat suits. He's not a big fan of paying for the 1,5000 dollars in merchandise he selected at Macy's."

"It's bringing the same kind of engagement people have on a personal level into something that's a little more in terms of civic engagement," Brian Merrill said.

Brian Merrill runs social media program for a local school district. He says in this digital world most organizations are looking for any opportunity to reach more people.

"It increases that community engagement and gets people working together to solve some of these crimes that may otherwise would not have been solved," he said.

Other posts poke fun at themselves and many of their responses are just as hilarious. Humor on social media is nothing new for law enforcement. Philadelphia police's 'No Savesies' campaign was a big hit and Upper Darby police uses it's epic 13,000 followers to spread it's word--many times with a laugh

"I've seen them. I think they are great. I was scrolling through Facebook I see them and think they are hilarious and people think they're hilarious and they share them,"Cyrana said.

It's true. One post alone was been shared more than 120 times in the first 10 hours after it was posted, but some think police may be missing the point.

"It's funny and it catches my eye but it's not going to catch somebody that's older that might take offense to it or not really pay attention to it and think it's just a funny meme and not someone they are trying to catch," Middleown Township resident Sarah Munizza said.