Police say on the morning of Tuesday November the 10th 2015, the 3 District Detective Office was made aware of a local Facebook post originating on Monday evening with the ominous warning “MY 4 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WAS ALMOST KIDNAPPED TONIGHT.”
An investigation into the post was promptly commenced and it was quickly discovered that the information in the post was not supported by evidence. With the assistance of Seaway Mall security and other assets, investigators were able to quickly determine the identity of the individuals described in the Facebook post and make the determination that these persons were not engaged in any unlawful or otherwise suspicious behavior.
In this particular situation the rapid spread of the post, having been shared more than 2700 times by 10:00 AM, demonstrates that while social media can be a very effective law enforcement and public safety tool, it can also be a detriment. In this case, a false perception or premonition of danger took on a short term life of its own, and could have caused local panic among Welland residents. The same post could have had negative implications for the two persons erroneously identified as potential kidnappers.
Niagara Regional Police Officers are committed to public safety, and they are well trained in the detection and identification of criminal offences. When members of the public believe they have information about a Criminal Offence, they are asked to call the Niagara Regional Police Service to report the matter.
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