Managing a database of thousands of stolen items since 2007 has taught me one thing for sure. You can’t make everyone happy. Since I take a personal interest in the integrity of this site, I find myself denying specific posts to go live and sometimes just banning the user permanently. So you ask, why is my post not approved? Maybe…
Most of you get what Stolen 911 is all about. It’s a web application that allows people to post information about something that was stolen from them. Creating this Digital Fingerprint gives the user a simple anchor point where others can find all the information to let them know the item is consider stolen by the user. Did that user make a police report? Let’s hope so since it’s the only way it will be taken seriously in an attempted recovery.
I encourage users to tell the story of the theft. It makes the post more compelling and relatable. These type of posts will get shared more on social media, Reddit, Nextdoor, and such. More shares are what you want. Hopefully, the right person will see it, and the item will be recovered.
So 99.9% of the users at Stolen 911 get this. But there is a small percentage of wannabe users that think this is something different.
Why is your post not approved at Stolen 911? Did you do one of these no-nos?
- Stolen 911 IS A POLICE FRIENDLY community. I’m a retired police officer. No posts bashing the police repeatedly will be allowed. (RESULT – Post Not Approved) I understand that there are corruption issues within some departments. Stolen 911 is not the place for these accusations. It’s okay if you post something like, “The police won’t do anything” “They don’t seem to care” “They are too busy” and such. These things are not likely to get your post taken down. I understand that you are going through a frustrating incident. But to state that the police are in league with your landlord for stealing your stuff (example) is not going to work at Stolen 911. Another example is when someone will submit a post claiming the police are the crooks because he or she was arrested, eventually released and never given back their cannabis or phone (this apparently happens a lot). Nope. You need to bring your complaints back to that agency, your attorney, or better yet your local news agency.
- No posting the name of a person in your post. (RESULT – Post Not Approved) As of 2019, I’ve begun to edit out names of alleged subjects in the existing posts. I get it. You know that your P.O.S. EX stole your car. Or, you know that guy you went to school with took your phone. You told the police, right? Okay, so you can use Stolen 911 to post photos of your stolen car, the VIN, license, police agency and so on. But you cannot display the names of suspects. Call them what they are, My P.O.S. EX Took my Car! A Crook took my phone! I’m okay with that. Tell the story. Let out your frustration. Just no naming people here at Stolen 911. I hope you understand. You can post surveillance images of suspects. I want Stolen 911 to be able to ID these fools you have on video stealing your stuff. So go ahead and submit pictures of those who need to be identified. If the ID of someone is known though, keep their name out for now. In some cases, naming suspects is allowed when I have followed up with law enforcement to verify the person named is also named by police as the alleged suspect. If you would like, put me in touch with the police investigator/officer investigating your case so I can follow up.
- No posting the same item more than once. (RESULT – Post Not Approved) You can only make one post on Stolen 911 per item. Your post is up for at least a few months if not 5 years in some cases. Reposting your item every day or week is not going help. Post it once. Add as much information to identify your item as you can. Copy your post’s URL and get it shared on Facebook, Twitter, Nextdoor, Reddit, etc. Also, some users will delete their post and then repost it again. That defeats the purpose of the Digital Fingerprint. You’re just going to make it harder for someone researching your stolen item to find it. Users found to be deleted and re-posting the same thing over and over again will be banned from the site and their accounts and content removed.
- No posts regarding negative statements about race, gender, sexual preference, political affiliation, religion, etc. (DEFINITELY RESULTING IN POST NOT APPROVED).
It is not a complete list. But if you are asking why is my post not approved, it is most likely one of these issues. Again, most of you don’t need to worry about this. You get what I’m trying to accomplish here and I thank you. The basic principle of Stolen 911 is simple. After you had something stolen, you should make a police report. Before you share it on social media, post it to Stolen 911 as your Anchor Post / Digital Fingerprint. Sometimes the information identifying stolen items is detailed better by users of Stolen 911 then what the police officer wrote in their report. Using Stolen 911 to supplement your police report with as much detail as possible is the best thing to do for the future of the investigation.