Police in the UK are hoping that social media can help put a spark in a missing persons case that appears to have gone cold. Cambridgeshire officials have turned to Facebook in a attempt to draw out information regarding the case of a 17-year-old teen who has not been seen in over three months.
Alisa Dmitrijeva was last seen around midnight on August 31st, and was eventually declared a missing person on September 6th. Police say that they are using Facebook to aid in the search because she was such a big social media user herself.
A photo of the 5'6", brown-haired girl is now turning up in Facebook ads, targeted to people living in certain surrounding areas (Wisbech, Norfolk and Lincolnshire). The ad states that "Police are offering £5000 for information that leads to tracing" the missing girl. It ends by asking users "Do you know where she is?"
The "ad," which is being circulated in English, Latvian and Lithuanian, leads those who click to a landing page on the Cambridgeshire Police site that details the latest news surrounding Dmitrijeva and information on the £5000 reward.
The rationale for the advert is simple: Facebook provides a way to get the word out to folks that might have missed the story in other outlets:
We know Alisa used social media so this advert will target people who may have information about her whereabouts. By translating the advert we hope to reach members of the community who know Alisa but may not have seen the appeals in traditional media.
There have been several unconfirmed sightings of the missing girl, but she has made no contact with friends or family in over 90 days.
Do you think that a Facebook advertisement is a good way to enlist the help of the public in a case like this? Do you think that police departments should use all types of social media to both gain information and disseminate information? Let us know in the comments.