Thursday, April 2, 2009

Twitter could be a major crime fighting tool


Twitter could have a major impact on thwarting crime. Twitter is micro blogging in 140 words or less. The short format is for mobile device compatibility. As a society always on the go, we can blog like texting to numerous followers instantly. The simplistic nature of twitter makes it a huge crime fighting, community relation building, and information tool. As technology evolves it is more important that law enforcement agencies on the local level establish stronger community ties in order build trust and fulfill their mission to protect and serve. It is far easier to serve a community base that understands its constituents. The Anne Arundel County Police department in Maryland is a great example of utilizing social media, especially twitter, to recruit talented officers and educate the members of the community. The Anne Arundel twitter address is http://twitter.com/AACOPD Twitter can also have a major impact in reconnecting neighborhoods to build more effective neighborhood watch programs.
As neighborhoods become bigger and technology has evolved, a peculiar thing has happened people have become more detached. Neighbors don’t know each other, and homeowner associations have less support than they would like in order to have the maximum impact they could if their meetings were better attended. It takes a sufficient amount of amount of time to produce a newsletter and distribute it, but it only takes less than a minute to tweet a simple 140 character message to everyone in unison. The other advantage of twitter is that is free. So getting the word out can be done through a simple door knocking campaign with the existing block captains in the HOA. Notice how effectively this could work in informing the neighbors about suspicious activity.
When someone sees something suspicious we call 911 and give the information to the dispatcher who then sends the authorities. If there was community following the 911 dispatch on twitter, real time updates could be given to the police, as they are in route from observers in the immediate vicinity. This could work to apprehend more criminals and could also be a valuable tool in aiding probation officers that do not always have their eyes on their probationers. If a concerned citizen and twitter user saw a crime being committed by someone known to be on probation the probation officer could be notified via twitter and could take the appropriate action necessary to protect the public. The exact strategy as to how to implement this strategy is unknown, but I thought I would put it out there. I welcome feedback. Please leave a comment to this post and connect with me on twitter. My twitter address is, http://twitter.com/mcneelyji. My goal is to make communities and neighborhoods safer through awareness and education. Your ideas and energy are vital to my mission’s success.

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