Fighting crime, 140 characters at a time
Fighting crime turned a sharp curve as the Vancouver Police Department posted every call they received on Thursday, in a plan that is meant to promote social networking while increasing crime prevention.
Vancouver police Const. Anne Longley is the newly appointed official police social media officer. The twenty-year old veteran is tweeting on a regular basis for the Vancouver Police Deparment and you can follow VPD @VancouverPD. "We're going to keep people much more updated with what the Vancouver police is doing," said Const. Anne Longley Thursday.
On average, the VPD receives 500 calls a day, so Longley and other officers were kept occupied throughout the day. Sample tweets include, “Man in custody after an attempted theft of beer from a loading truck," and "police are looking for an elderly man who wandered away from his care home."
Officers took out any personal information that may have violated personal protocols. While the stunt proved effective (2,300 people followed the @VancouverPD by Thurday), the VPD was trying to keep up with the high volume of calls they were receiving. "Sorry for the last typo's ... I think I need a break soon!" read one tweet.
Vancouver isn't the only police force in the country to launch a Twitter profile; most departments in Canada already have them. Since Twitter forces users to condense material, all subject matter is concise. The effects of this online tool could extend further than just social networking: it could become a popular crime-fighting tool in the future.
The VPD have finished their 24-hour stream of tweets now, but visit them on Twitter for updates on how our police force is working to protect our city.