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Social media and web intelligence helps Hartford police prevent crimes

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Hartford Police Department C4 Unit_623607

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The popular saying, “If you see something, say something” has extended to the digital world where users of popular sites and apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat need to keep an eye out for behavior that may cause harm in the community.

Social media is a place where people can share moments of their lives, interact with topics and interests they care about and post photos to keep friends and family updated. Many posts offer a peek into the life of an individual and a profile into who they are. Some events that have threatened public security or have caused alarm resulting in an emergency situation have been traced back to the actions of a person online.

These daily interactions of people that you may not see in person very often should be treated the same way as though someone’s words or actions. These include posts, photos and videos that make the user think twice can not be ignored.

The Hartford Police Department has a real-time web intelligence and data command center – the largest in the State of Connecticut – known as the “C4 Unit” which stands for the Capitol City Command Center. Led by Sergeant O’Hare, his team is able to look at the intricate system of cameras throughout the city of Hartford and process various online and social media tips. They have their eyes on the city from every angle throughout the entire day to prevent crimes from happening and to keep the public safe.Related Content: ‘Start with Hello’ campaign looks to make everyone feel included

The city works closely with the FBI and other government agencies on investigations once they receive leads from citizens working to help prevent crimes. The Hartford Police Department C4 Team also is in close contact with Facebook’s Law Enforcement Team which oversees both Facebook and Instagram, that team is also in contact with Google, Twitter, Snapchat and all major digital platforms.

How do I report questionable, threatening or suspicious content on social media directly to local law enforcement?

First of all, if this is an immediate threat that can cause harm to a group or an individual, the Hartford Police Department always advises calling 911.

Those who are reporting content can always remain anonymous and can submit tips directly to the Hartford Police Department by filling out this form and attaching photos or videos. There is also a text number – for Hartford, text TIP716 and your message to CRIMES (274637). You can find additional police station text numbers here. If you’re on Facebook, messaging the department can also be done by clicking on “Send Message.” Please note that these numbers should not be used in the case of an emergency.Related Content: Victims identified in Florida shooting: Hero football coach, future college swimmer among dead

These three ways allow for the sending of videos and photos, which you can screenshot from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, directly to the Hartford Police Department and remain anonymous doing so.How to flag and report on Facebook?

If you receive a threatening message, users can fill out this form and upload a screenshot of the message. To report a Facebook Secret Conversation on Messenger, open the conversation, tap the person’s name and click “Report Conversation.” For posts that are questionable in nature, users can click the little arrow on the top right of the post, click on “Report Post” or “Report Photo” and select the option that best describes why you are reporting it.If I see a photo or video on Instagram that may be dangerous?

Tap the three dots on the top right of an Instagram post. Click on “Report” and then “It’s inappropriate” to which you can select another category. Instagram’s Privacy and Safety Center has more details.How to report something on Twitter?

If a person is threatening, harassing or positing content that can be dangerous, Twitter allows users to Report a Violation.Snapchat has disappearing content, so how is that reported?

Take a screenshot if possible. To report a story, press and hold on the story until you see an arrow button appear in the bottom left corner. Tap to report and let Snapchat know what is happening. Learn more about it here.

Content reported through social media channels directly will then work with local law enforcement and government agencies like the FBI and CIA. It’s truly a community effort to stop crimes from happening on many levels. Don’t hesitate on reporting something that results in uncomfortable feelings even if it’s not thought to be a risk at the time. All tips are treated as credible leads and are investigated.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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