Call me a cynic, but am I wrong to doubt that Facebook is a useful tool for crime-fighting and finding lost pets? I ask the question because seemingly every day I find on my timeline there will always be the suggestion that I should. Today is no different.
For starters, I have been asked today to look out for a dog that has gone missing somewhere east of London and to look out for a man who has stolen some tools from some sort of industrial unit. In many ways, it’s rather sweet that people share this kind of stuff. It shows, I suppose, that they care, that they want other folk to regain their missing animals and work tools. All well and good, but who do they think I am and what kind of people do they think I mix with?
I would describe myself as an animal lover in the very basic sense. We have three cats, many of our neighbours have cats and dogs. However the idea that I would come across one that I knew had disappeared or been stolen is fanciful to say the least. When I see a missing pet story, my first reaction is to think, “Oh Christ, not another missing pet story” and my second is to forget all about it. It’s the same with tools. I know very little about tools, stolen or otherwise and I come across very few situations where I would even see them. And even if I did, how the hell would I know they were stolen?
It’s the same with escaped criminals, too. “Look out for Wayne Scrote,” says the message. “He’s a violent drug-dealing paedophile who eats cats. Do not approach him.” Well, no. I have no intention of approaching him, but then, how likely am I to bump into him in Asda this afternoon, or the Beaufort Arms? I don’t normally associate with people like Wayne. No Facebook post is going to encourage me to start doing so.
Call me a cynic, but I’m right, aren’t I? I’ll bet not a single crime has been solved or missing dog found on Facebook. Just inform the police instead.