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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Social media crimes in Cumbria on the increase

THE number of crimes carried out on social media in Cumbria has increased, figures show.

Since 2011 police have received 152 reports of crime relating to Facebook and Twitter.

The most common crimes are offences against the person – which include abuse and harassment – with 41 reports from Facebook in 2013. There were seven sexual offences relating to Facebook last year.

In 2011 there were 39 Facebook related offences, 48 in 2012 and 61 last year. There were four reported crimes on Twitter in 2012 but zero the year before and year after.

As part of the ongoing cybercrime awareness week police are warning web users of the dangers of social media.

Detective Superintendent Andrew Slattery said: “Social networking is a great resource, and now a common way to keep in touch with a large group of people.

“However, it is sadly also rapidly becoming a target for would-be criminals.

“Due to the nature of the sites it is often easy to gather personal data from a profile and use this to commit fraud, identity theft or harassment.

“Some applications have unforeseen risks such as cyclists using GPS tracking to log and share their training rides, which inadvertently discloses the whereabouts of high value bicycles unless privacy settings are applied prudently.

“There are some simple steps people can take to protect themselves, including checking security settings, and being careful with what you post.

“Users should think before posting and ask themselves whether their post could be construed as bullying, racist, homophobic or offensive in any other way. Even if a post is meant to be humorous or light hearted it may be viewed by others who are offended or intimidated by it. If in doubt – don’t post it.”

Cumbria’s police and crime commissioner Richard Rhodes said: “It is really important people take simple steps to protect themselves. The young in particular should understand that an entry on Facebook now can stay there forever.”

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