On 01/06/2016 the Macomb Police Department was made aware of a Facebook post that indicated that “a friends daughter was jumped and strangled by a man in a hoodie” in Macomb and that MPD had other reports of similar incidents. MPD had no such reports on file and began trying to contact the Facebook poster to find out what the issue was. MPD placed a post on their Facebook stating that the public was safe and that no such report had been made. Late Wednesday evening the Deputy Chief of Police was finally able to talk to the poster and gathered information about a possible victim. The Deputy Chief then contacted the possible victim and interviewed her about the incident. She reported an attack in the downtown area around 1am on 01/06/2016. The following day two detectives were assigned to the case.
The two detectives investigating this case were able to determine that the reporting of this incident was in fact false. The victim was interviewed in person and she confessed to detectives that she made up the story to cover her own personal indiscretions. The Macomb Police Department will be consulting with the McDonough County States Attorney’s Office for the consideration of charges.
We believe that the nature of the shared post contributed most to the concerns of our citizens of Macomb. The post warned anyone who had “children” in Macomb to be wary and then stated a friends “daughter” was jumped and strangled. There was no mention in the post as to the time of day or the age of the daughter. We believe this vagueness led to the concern the post created. The female was in fact 24 years old.
Incidents like these do several things, not only to the department but also the community. First they tax the manpower and resources of the department by pulling officers away from investigating legitimate cases. Secondly they trivialize the nature of such a serious criminal act and cast doubt upon the next person who reports such an incident. This in turn creates a belief by victims that filing a report is useless and a perception that the police will not do anything. This false report also created a panic in the community as the Macomb Police Department was contacted several times about the legitimacy of the report.
The Macomb Police Department would like to assure the public that Macomb is a safe community. We urge everyone to report such incidents no matter how you feel the outcome may turn out. We are here to serve the community and take great pride in our efforts to make Macomb a great place to live.