Police address Facebook rumor that Great Lakes Crossing is 'hot bed of sex trafficking'

'None of this Facebook stuff is fact,' Chief Doreen Olko says

DETROIT - A recurring Facebook rumor about Great Lakes Crossing Outlets being a hot spot for sex trafficking was addressed this week by Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko.

Police said the posts have gotten out of hand. The viral posts have been shared thousands of times, claiming Great Lakes Crosing is a hot spot for sex trafficking, but police said the posts are bogus. This week, the Auburn Hills police chief set the record straight.

Chief Doreen Olko released a statement about the recurring Facebook rumor. It reads, in part, "Frankly, I'm insulted that some commenters have suggested that this kind of thing is happening regularly and that we 'want to keep it hush-hush.' Nothing could be further from the truth.

"None of this Facebook stuff is fact, and when we have to keep investigating rumors over and over, it is a waste of valuable investigative time."

The chief said police have never had a missing person report from Great Lakes Crossing. She also urged anyone who feels uncomfortable at the mall to call 911 and report the situation as soon as possible.

Here's the full post from the police chief in a blog Monday morning:

Once again we have confronted the recurring Facebook rumor about Great Lakes Crossings Mall being a hot bed of sex trafficking.  I’ve been reading through the comments to learn what people are saying on this topic.  Frankly, I’m insulted that some commenters have suggested that this kind of thing is happening regularly and that we “want to keep it hush-hush.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  All the members of our department take sex trafficking seriously.  We investigate thoroughly any report anytime.  We know that we have no missing persons reports – now or ever.

Because we are cops, we are a bunch of fact based people.  We believe strongly that facts and truth are important.  And the fact is that there are no indications of sex trafficking rings or kidnappings going on there.  We have a group of officers who work out of a substation right at the mall so they are in and around the mall all the time.  We respond to things there quickly and with the necessary emphasis.  None of this Facebook stuff is fact — and when we have to keep investigating rumors over and over it is a waste of valuable investigative time.

If there is a person out there who is uncomfortable at any time while at the mall, they should call 911 and report the situation as soon as possible.  You can also find help from any mall security person.  And for those people who say that they don’t feel comfortable dropping off their kids at the mall without adults, I say THANKS.  Unsupervised kids are a  continuing problem to us.

Here is where the real problem of sex crimes against kids exists:  on their phones and computers.  Are you checking their phones?  Apps like Snapchat and Kik are a growing problem.  We are seeing these cases nearly daily.

Lieutenant Ryan Gagnon was just in my office. He is recently transferred from Operations Division to Investigations.  He has never been a detective so has had limited interaction with sex crimes.  He was telling me how shocked he is to see the volume of these types of cases.  He is shocked that kids are communicating on line with persons representing themselves as other kids who ask them to photo or video themselves naked and then extorting them to perform more and more by threatening to post the photos and videos.  It is horrifying.  Want to prevent sex crimes on kids?  Know what they are doing online.

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