Surry Police are using everything at their disposal to combat car crimes, including the microblogging website Twitter. The English county believes the social media behemoth can be used to apprehend automobile thieves and vandals and prevent future offenses. It can also likely be used as a theft deterrent.
For a one-week period the police department will use Twitter to announce any car crime that comes into its contact center. By putting information in the hands of the public, the county hopes average citizens will take an active interest in cleaning up their streets.
Car theft is one of the most common crimes reported to police in nearly every corner of the world. In the US alone, more than 1 million vehicles are stolen every year. This startling statistic doesnâ€™t include minor car crimes like vandalism, which make up a significant amount of dispatcher calls.
The power of Twitter
Twitter is a simple service. Using 140 characters or less, users can send messages to people on their account. This may not sound like a ground-breaking idea, but when you consider the fact that more than 200 million people use it, the numbers start to rise and the possibilities begin to form.
Twitter works because it takes traditional word-of-mouth and supercharges it. An unknown movie can become a global phenomenon in just a few weeks if enough people tweet about it. Often times, Twitter is responsible for introducing stories to the world before the news does. Police agencies are hoping this kind of communication can be used to raise criminal awareness.
This new protocol could turn an entire city into one big neighborhood watch. With more and more people using Twitter, including the elderly and the technology-resistant, police officers could potentially have a pair of Good Samaritan eyeballs on every street corner and parking lot.
Results will tell
This is one of the first cases of social networking-based law enforcement. If it works, if arrests rise and crimes fall, many more cities around the world will start implementing Twitter crime announcements.Â Police are also using Facebook to investigate crimes.
Everyone can help
The world is filled with bystanders, people too docile to stop crimes and too self-centered to report them. Surry Police want to change this.
The experiment began July 11, and numbers should be in soon to demonstrate whether these steps can take a bits out of crime..
If your car gets stolen our you ever need to file an insurance claim you might want to pay a visit to Kanetix.Â The Kanetix infocentre contains information on the claims process, and there is a forum for getting answers to your questions.