I’ve spent ridiculous amounts of time researching missing persons, especially in Florida. I’ve probably visited most police department websites in the state. I leave feeling terribly disappointed most of the time. It’s frustrating to visit a police website for info on their missing person cases only to realize they are nowhere to be found. In the digital age, there’s no excuse for police departments NOT to keep their current Amber Alerts, missing person cases and unsolved homicides posted on their websites. You would think something so important would not get overlooked! On that note, I’d like to share a few examples of what I consider good and bad.
- City of Miami Police Department: their website has a link to their missing person cases. However, they don’t keep in updated. They’ve been displaying the same 2 missing person cases since 2007!
- Miami Dade Police: they update their site from time to time but…(and this is a big one) on their missing persons page, they have NO information about their open/unsolved cases! Instead, they have a handful of links to sites that are not part of MDPD and a search engine below that.
If police departments want to close more cases they’re going to have to be more effective than the examples above.
- This agency is doing an excellent job integrating news, videos, open missing person cases and their unidentified victims. I’m referring to the one and only Broward Sherriff’s Office. The BSO website is user-friendly and includes news, videos, sexual offender search, missing persons, victim services, safety tips, and more. I appreciate that it’s updated frequently with their current missing person cases and “Operation Found and Forgotten“. This effort by Broward Sherriff’s Office to identify their Jane and John Does can be very effective. They have a much better chance of identifing their victims. Follow this link and look at the photos. (You can report your tips to Crime Stoppers of Broward County anonymously at by calling (954)493-TIPS, toll free at (866)493-TIPS or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.org/webtips.html)
Police should embrace social media wholeheartedly. Using online social networks have many advantages. It’s the most effective way to disseminate information expediently at no cost. You can use the sites to distribute Amber Alerts, missing person alerts, press releases, breaking news, events, crime prevention etc. These social sites allow for people to share information, videos, and photos easily, disseminating information faster than traditional ways. Police departments should be using YouTube as well.