Lexington Police Post Videos on Social Media to Solve Crimes

April 25, 2017

Hours after video showing a woman’s wallet being stolen at a store was posted on YouTube, the suspect came forward and was identified, Lexington police said.

The video taken in February showed the woman leaving her wallet on the counter after paying for merchandise. The next person in line was seen placing the wallet in her purse.

Police in Kentucky’s second-largest city point to the case as an example of how using video on social media and the web can help solve crimes.

In 2016, the police department produced 28 videos, including three surveillance recordings for its website and YouTube channel and for social media, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. In the first four months of 2017, 19 videos, including eight surveillance videos, have been uploaded.

Brenna Angel, a public information officer for the department, said that of the 11 surveillance videos posted since she joined the department in January 2016, seven have led to charges filed.

Property was recovered in three of those cases, Angel said. Some suspects have turned themselves in once the material was posted.

Angel has edited and posted all the police department’s videos using a Nikon D5300, a shotgun microphone, and editing software.

The videos, which are primarily located on Facebook and YouTube, range from recruitment commercials to the surveillance footage released when detectives have exhausted all leads.

That was the case earlier this month when Angel released a surveillance video of man entering a store in March, asking for the price of a guitar and then running out of the store with the instrument without paying.

Less than a week later, the man turned himself in to police to the relief of Sgt. Todd Johnson, whose team was handling the case.

“The turnaround has been really good since we started doing video,” said Johnson, who has been with the department for 23 years. “We generally only ask Brenna to get involved when we need some assistance from the community. She’s taken it to another level and hopefully it will continue.”

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