Assistance with a law enforcement investigation can come from many sources. An anonymous tip, a witness interview… and now there is a website that assists law enforcement agencies in the identification of suspects committing theft, using stolen credit cards and any other crime caught on camera. The website is boloalerts.com, and it is the work of a veteran detective with 17 years on the force.
Loss prevention specialists who work for a variety of stores can produce videos and still images of suspects committing various crimes. However, the heavy caseloads of Detectives who investigate these cases and who specialize in financial crimes can delay the investigation, allowing the suspect to get away with the crime. Boloalerts.com represents a way for loss prevention specialists to aid local law enforcement in deterring and prosecuting financial crimes. The “speed to market” concept allows departments and vendors to post suspect photos, with accompanying case numbers and other investigation information, directly to boloalerts.com. This gives law enforcement access to these photos sooner and increases the chance that the suspect will be identified and arrested.
So, how does this differ from the use of social media? Many police departments already post photos on Facebook and request assistance in identifying suspects. Most of the time, however, the non-violent crimes, including thefts, are overlooked. Resource constraints demand that departments prioritize violent crime. Another consideration is that social media are limited by the followers and shares given to a single post. Boloalerts.com, in contrast, is receiving thousands of unique views per week. The reach is broader.
Why does boloalerts.com get so much traffic? When someone identifies a suspect photo, and the detective confirms the identity, boloalerts.com pays the individual $25.00 directly. The benefits are that the law enforcement agency is closer to making an arrest, and the stores and vendors benefit from a suspect being taken off the streets. Another benefit is that the identified suspect is no longer unidentified, which could lead to detectives clearing other cases the suspect may be involved in.
Currently five law enforcement agencies are posting to boloalerts, at no cost. Boloalerts.com does not charge one dime to law enforcement departments to post their suspect photos. The intent is to provide a single site for people to identify suspects, rather than several, and also to encourage interagency cooperation and arrest of suspects. This will expedite identifications and arrests.
If your agency is interested in joining boloalerts.com, please send an email to email@example.com. In your email, provide the POC for the person in your agency who will give the written authorization to join boloalerts.com and also the contact person who will serve as the department’s administrator for the website. Once your agency has become a member department, boloalerts.com will set up your agency on the system and train the necessary officers/ detectives or investigators to use boloalerts.com at no cost.
Boloalerts asks only the following in return:
• Written permission, on official letterhead, to use your department name and image of your badge on your department’s page and on the Participating Agency page within the Boloalert.com website.
• Your agency places a link to boloalerts.com on your own agency website and publishes a local press release to let the public know about boloalerts.com.
As a member department, encourage your community residents to visit the site and assist your department in fighting financial crimes. Boloalerts.com will provide a logo that can be shared on flyers, PSAs, and even social media to let your community know you have teamed up with an online mutual aid partner.