Space Age Crime Watch: Police Officers Tweet for Safety

Social media is breaking into the realm of safety. We all have ideas about how to make our streets and our homes safer, but only recently does it seem that Twitter might factor into the average police officer’s duty. Officers in the United Kingdom have started using Twitter to communicate to the public…could this be coming to a neighborhood near you?

Twitter is home to the account @MyPolice which purports to be “A business working to bring the police and the public together by fundamentally changing the way they communicate.” Police officers in Scotland are testing out the tool as a way to broadcast information and receive tips from the community. The new focus on Twitter, as opposed to Facebook and other social media applications, comes from the conversational aspect of the site.

This emerging use for Twitter actually brings out the best in the social networking site, highlighting its ability to let people interact about their concerns in an efficient way. Especially in an age with a plethora of Twitter platforms that let people receive tweets whenever and wherever they are, frequent updates about criminal acts and special alerts could genuinely be helpful.

As expected, every tweet isn’t the most productive message in the world:

And at this point, it seems like a large number of the 2,113 tweets released are @replies to people rather than substantive comments about safety. There are also a lot of promotional tweets, talking about how this account is new and how they are training police officers to look at it. It seems like all that stuff about self-absorbed Twitter users might be right after all…

So far, the account has about 2100 followers — although it’s easy to see how an account that covered a larger area would attract many more. And perhaps once this account has been around for a while, we’ll see more content that is actually police-related.

Would a tweet from your local police force make you feel safer?