Yarmouth business leaders would really like the local police to stop posting crime stories to its Facebook page, complaining that the publicly available information is hurting the town’s “brand,’’ the Cape Cod Times reports.
Like most police departments nationwide, the town’s police force uses Facebook and other social media to post a mix of information about police engagement in the community, new police dogs, tips for dealing with drug addiction, and violent and drug-related crimes.
But business leaders say posting criminal stories and mug shots makes the Cape Cod town look bad.
“It has a tremendous effect on tourism,’’ DeWitt Davenport, the head of a development and real estate company in Yarmouth, told the Cape Cod Times. “It’s more negative than positive. The ‘brand’ of Yarmouth is being affected by our police department.’’
Mary Vilbon, the executive director of the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce, told the Cape Cod Times she had heard similar concerns from business owners.
“I told the police they’re doing such a good job but to be aware of the impact on business,’’ Vilbon said. “Tourism is so important to the economy. It’s about the image and the brand.’’
Both Davenport and Vilbon met with police officials recently to convince them that the town’s brand was more important than sharing information with the public.
They were roundly rejected.
“If you look from town to town, you’ll see different styles, but the idea of putting information on a website is common,’’ Police Chief Frank Frederickson said. “Their concern over the negative is understandable, but it’s real life.’’
The department recently surpassed 10,000 likes on Facebook, and celebrated by extolling the benefits of quickly providing information to residents.
“We will continue to post media releases and surveillance footage asking the public to help identify suspects in the videos or photos as well as commend the good work of our outstanding team of employees, our colleagues in other Law Enforcement agencies, and town government,’’ police said.