Social Media: the stocks of the 21st century (and why we need more of it)

One of the effective uses of the stocks were that you had to face your community and be known and ridiculed for the transgression you were guilty of.   Due to society growing to the point where we haven’t even said “hi” to our neighbours, the anonymity of people in general emboldens them to do things because they think they can get away with it.

But not if we use “digital stocks”:

Wairarapa shoplifters should expect to be shamed on Facebook, as retailers take to CCTV and social media to fight back.

Owner of Trev’s Sports in Queen St, Quentin Henderson, has twice turned to the community on Facebook to help identify shoplifters.

Last October, a teenage cat burglar who stole hundreds of dollars’ worth of goods owned up after CCTV images of the burglary was widely viewed on Facebook.

And last month, footage of two teenage girls shoplifting received 21,768 views.

Although not from Masterton, the girls were identified.

Mr Henderson said the community supported retailers by trying to help identify the shoplifters on social media.

A bit of crowd sourcing to identify scumbags will be very effective in putting the breaks on petty thievery.  

“As soon as people started seeing it, the community wanted to help, and that was really awesome.”

“It’s a kind of name and shame. We are a small community and for people to be stealing really hurts business.”

The shop had been actively using Facebook for the past six months and it was an effective tool retailers could use to help prevent theft, Mr Henderson said.

“It’s trying out every avenue you have and waiting for somebody to help you with information — and the information does start pouring in really fast.

“It makes other people aware of it. We are just lucky that we have invested in cameras which are really good at facial recognition. It’s a small community, people are willing to help.

While he would be continuing to invest in his own cameras, it would be great if there was a network that could be linked across all nearby retailers, Mr Henderson said.

Other Masterton stores, such as Legal Theft, also post footage of shoplifters on Facebook.

Acting Senior Sergeant Ian Osland said he was aware social media had been used to resolve several incidents.

“It can have its benefits — and the 0800 number, they all have equal benefits and success. It’s a medium that people feel comfortable using to relay information.”

Wairarapa police have also been active on social media, using their Facebook page to appeal for information.

Camera systems is essentially very cheap these days.  Even 2 or 3 year old phones can be put on a shelf, load an app, stick on Wi-Fi and it’s streams video to the back to the office computer for later review.  Great use for that iPhone 3 or Samsung S2 – no need for wiring, and the App is free.

The more scumbags get identified this way, the better.  In the end it will mean a nicer place for the rest of us to live, and the cost of shoplifting will be less so it doesn’t need to be recovered through higher prices.

 

– Alisa Yong, Wairarapa Times-Age


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