Austin police getting more reports about crimes on social media

That Cleveland murder case is just the latest example of criminals documenting their exploits on social media. It's a trend that has Austin Police concerned.

AUSTIN - Austin Police Assistant Chief, Joseph Chacon, didn't watch the entire video that shows Steve Stephens allegedly shooting and killing 74-year-old, Robert Godwin that was posted on Facebook Sunday.

"It's very disturbing... for people to actually post that online, it's just to me, it goes against everything that is human," Chacon said.

Chacon said the Austin Police Department is getting more cases like this thanks to the public.

"[I] have heard and have seen we are getting more and more stuff that we're gathering evidence online," said Chacon.

The Assistant Chief recognized the trend of criminals posting their exploits on social media is only continuing. Just last year, a Dallas-area man was arrested after allegedly killing his girlfriend and posting a picture of her body on Facebook.

Assistant Chief Chacon explained how these cases are investigated.

"If the only piece of evidence we have is that video, then we're concentrating on that video. Where did we get it? How did that person get it? And ultimately we're always trying to track back to the IP addresses," said Chacon.

KVUE asked if a person is legally required to report a crime he or she sees on Facebook live? Chacon said no, but that doesn't mean the crimes go unreported.

"If somebody sees something happening online, they are reporting it. Obviously, not every single person who sees it is calling in, but somebody is usually so upset by what they're seeing that they are calling 911. They're trying their best to capture it on their phone or on their computer," Chacon explained. 

Like in the case of Carlos Santacruz, the nurse aide charged with tormenting an elderly woman at an Austin nursing home last month. The case brought to APD's attention by one of his "friends" on Snapchat.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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