Crime & Courts

Fairbanks police see high rate of suspect identification through Facebook photo album

FAIRBANKS – Scores of crime suspects have been identified through the Fairbanks Police department's Facebook presence, police said.

The police department maintains a photo album that has 210 pictures of people possibly involved in crimes taken from video surveillance systems or sent by residents, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday.

Through the Facebook photo album, the department asks residents to help identify the people. The department has a high success rate of identification, helping police solve crimes ranging from thefts to assaults, said Officer Doug Welborn, who monitors the album and answers questions sent by residents.

"I would imagine we're 90 percent or higher on identification as far as the photos we put up. It's really been great," Welborn said. "Coming into this, if I could have gotten to the 40 or 50 percent mark, I think I would have been thrilled. It's like I've got eyes on the street, and it's been more than we could have hoped for."

The album was started in 2016 after calls from residents wanting to stay in the loop of what's going on the city, Welborn said. People have also used the page to post videos of crimes taking place and to send information to officers.

"When we started putting images out there for the public it was an immediate response," Welborn said. "Some of those individuals have gone on to receive lengthy prison sentences."