The Detroit Police Department is asking citizens who have doorbell cameras and other security systems—which have rapidly become popular with home owners—to resist the urge to post video of a suspected burglar on social media, at least until the department can begin its own investigation.
According to the Detroit Free Press, police are warning citizens that posting "neighborhood watch" videos and other information on Nextdoor and Facebook images of suspected offenders can create unnecessary hysteria, particularly if an arrest has already been made that the public doesn't know about.
Nextdoor says on its website that among the benefits of joining the social media site is the ability to "quickly get the word out about a break-in."
But law enforcement officials also said that while home security video footage can be helpful to police investigations, posting it online can create problems that may end up actually hindering an investigation. Further, the individual posting the video online could expose themselves to further victimization, in the event that the offender decides to retaliate for being shown on video.
Peter Henning—a Wayne State University law professor and former federal prosecutor—told the Detroit Free Press that posting videos on social media may also hinder the ability to do an undercover investigation.