Dwayne Cosgrove has turned to social media to solve crimes. Photo: Kate Russell.

Victims search for justice online


Dwayne Cosgrove is tired of being targeted by thieves, so he has turned to social media to solve crimes – instead of the police.

The owner of Opel Industries is one of many Nelson businesses and individuals using outlets such as Facebook to solve crimes.

This month he had $1200 worth of tools and batteries stolen from his store, so as well as notifying the police, he decided to send security camera footage of the culprit to the popular Nelson Snippets Facebook page.

Dwayne had the alleged offender’s name that very same day. It’s not the first time he has turned to Nelson Snippets to solve a crime.

“The police aren’t interested. You’ve got to have high quality images and videos. We’re having to chase them up constantly.”

Dwayne says posting crimes to social media is “much more efficient” and it also has the added bonus of ‘naming and shaming’ and warning others.

“Short of actually taking the law into our own hands, this is the best thing to do. Too many stores are out of pocket from these types of petty thefts.”

Dwayne’s experience comes at the same time as the release of new statistics from police police, which show there has been a 34 per cent crime reduction in the Nelson region during the last year.

From the months of January to May 2017, compared with the same time in 2018, the number of all types of crimes reduced by 347.

The most significant reduction has been in robbery, burglary and theft.

Relieving area commander for Nelson Bays, Timothy Crawford, says this is because of new tactical plans that have been put in place for burglary and drug offending. He says that the reduction is not due to less people reporting crimes or relying on other avenues for justice.

“Police can only effectively deal with what’s reported, therefore our position is, less is occurring.”

However, Nelson Snippets says it’s because people are bypassing the police completely.

The administrator for the page says she was contacted by 20 different people with the name of the Opel Industries thief within hours of the post going up on Facebook.

She passes that information onto the business.

She thinks people have “lost faith in the police actually doing any investigation into petty crimes”.

Dwayne says, although he is not expecting to get his tools back, he will continue to seek answers from the police.

“For small business owners, $1200 is a significant amount and when you think about all those little thefts that happen across Nelson, it adds up.”