Criminals revealed on Facebook page

Lawbreakers looking to network are visiting a new Facebook page to share exploits and lash out at police.Source: The Border Mail

A Facebook page for self-professed Albury “criminals” could be used for recruiting offenders and planning crime, police say.

The page, which Fairfax Regional Mediahas chosen not to name, was set up on Saturday and as of yesterday afternoon, it had more than 180 members.

Posts on the page include youths encouraging members to “add all criminals” and, in an overt snub to police, to “F.T.P”, an acronym for “f–k the police”.

Another post suggests a member knows who was responsible for a crime with another telling that user “not to rat”, while others post “no snitches on this page” and “if anyone snitches on this page then they’re dead”.

Albury police Insp David Cottee said members of the page allegedly had committed offences such as assaults, break and enters and the theft of cars.

He said some were also members of the “Scooter Gang”, youths who steal from Lavington shops and harass its traders.

Insp Cottee said the page had the potential to morph into a crime-breeding ground.

“It could be used as a platform for criminal enterprise,” Insp Cottee said.

“They’re talking together on the website and they could recruit people to commit offences with them.”

The page was set up in response to another Facebook site with a different motivation.

Albury Live Crime, which has a following of almost 8000 people since it began in April, posts details of crime as it is reported across police scanners.

Its administrators say it has increased the reports of crime and information on crime to police, despite Albury police hitting out at the page for its potential to risk the safety of officers and their ability to investigate incidents.

Insp Cottee said police communications in Albury would soon switch over to an encrypted signal and it would stop the function of the page.

For the criminals page, however, Insp Cottee said police were monitoring it and would move to shut it down.

He also held concerns for the members of the page who did not have criminal records.

“They’re setting themselves up for future failure,” he said.

He said potential employers could find them on the site and they could become victims to internet predators.

“They’re young, they’re vulnerable and they may think they’re street smart but they could become street soiled,” Insp Cottee said.

He told people not to join the page and, if they were already a member, to leave it.

Insp Cottee said most crime in Albury was committed by youths and that was nothing new.

But he said brawls in public spaces, like the one in Dean Street’s City Walk arcade last week, were unusual.

He said the arrest of one person may be pending in relation to last Monday’s brawl.

Fifteen youths were involved in the incident.

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