Sheriff: "Reporting suspicious posts online can prevent crimes"

Sheriff: "Reporting suspicious posts online can prevent crimes"

TYLER (KYTX) -  Millions have now seen a YouTube video posted by the shooter in a mass killing in Santa Barbara Friday. That video was an online manifesto detailing the shooter's planned attack. 

Local law enforcement tells CBS 19 about the importance of reporting suspicious things you see online to help them prevent crimes if at all possible.

"This is my last video. It all has to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day in which I will have my revenge."
These are words from the video 22-year-old Elliot Rodgers posted to YouTube the day before he went on a mass killing in Santa Barbara. 
"All you popular kids, you've never accepted me. And now you'll all pay for it," he says. 

No one was able to report the video to law enforcement before the rampage began.  

"Even if it's not in your state, law enforcement obviously can learn from things that happen elsewhere. And it's prudent for us to do that," says Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith. 
He says online posts on sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are becoming more and more important to criminal investigations as people begin to use the internet as a diary.
Sheriff Smith says many of his officers check these sites daily, but the sheer number of posts cannot be constantly monitored.  
"With limited resources and things of that nature it's very difficult to do. That's exactly why we ask the public if they run across something like that on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, even if they think there's nothing to it, we would rather be called and not needed than needed very much so and not called," Sheriff Smith says. 

Online companies monitor their own sites as well, but say there is a lack of manpower to meet the need.

YouTube tells users this on the website: "While YouTube employees often browse user videos, there are too many uploads - more than 65,000 per day - for staff members to view every one to make sure it meets community guidelines."
These companies, like law enforcement, hope the public will report anything concerning or suspicious, and as soon as possible.  
Law enforcement officers site a recent example of watchful citizens making a difference: Last month, a Minnesota teen was planning to pull off a Columbine-style massacre.  An observant young woman saw the teen acting strangely outside a storage shed and called police. When they got there, officers found all the weapons he was going to use in the attack.  


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