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Concerned Citizen Uses Social Media to Pull Up Welcome Mat of "Drug House Next Door"

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Springfield citizen using the Twitter handle @SgfDrugHouse, also known as the "Drug House Next Door," is documenting what he believes are open drug sales at a neighbor's house.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Some people are using social media as a crime-fighting tool to keep their neighborhoods safe. 

A Springfield citizen using the Twitter handle @SgfDrugHouse, also known as the "Drug House Next Door," is documenting what he believes are open drug sales at a neighbor's house.

More recently, he and a friend had to intervene when a person was in danger. Because of recent arrests at the house, we do not show his face in this story.

"I was watching my neighbors and I saw them dealing drugs next door," he says. "I started tweeting hashtag 'the drug house next door.'"

To keep his anonymity, he then created his own Twitter handle. He says the twitter handle was born out of frustration with his landlords.

"I made several complaints against the people next door to my apartment complex and hadn't heard anything back. So, just out of frustration, I tweeted the Springfield Police Department. I tagged them on something that I'd sent and just said 'what do I do?'"

Eventually he was able to connect with the Springfield Police Department. Each night, he details cars and their occupants stopping at the neighbor's house into the wee hours of the night. 

"What's so frustrating is watching it, knowing what's happening and knowing that it's still happening, honestly, it's fear of not knowing what else is happening," he said.

The man behind the handle has cause for concern and he's not alone. Citizens and neighbors use multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to document crime in their neighborhoods.

"We get more tips on Facebook," says Lisa Cox, Public Information Officer for the Springfield Police Department. 

The department even has its own anonymous text to tips line. Cox says using social media is fine to document, but if you want an officer, "whether it's text-to-tip or Facebook or Twitter, they are not being monitored the same way 911 dispatch calls are. That's still the best method for quick action by the police."

That's what happened at the Drug House Next Door recently.

"We heard a woman screaming for help. That's when I called 911."

That night, the neighbor was arrested for domestic violence and that case is in the prosecutor's office. For now, @SgfDrugHouse continues to document what is happening next door.

Greene County prosecutors have used social media in multiple cases to prosecute people, including the case of a convicted drunk driver who bragged about drinking starting in the early morning hours the day of an accident.
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