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US Police Use Social Media To Fight Crime

Social Media, The Next Superhero

While social media’s spread is traditionally national - if not global - some new social networks are trying to make it all a little more personal and closer to home. While Facebook is a fantastic tool for communicating with friends in faraway lands, and Twitter is an amalgamation of the public psyche, very few social media networks exist that operate exclusively on a local, home level. Unless you're planning to outright stalk your neighbours, your best bet is just to join the Neighbourhood Watch.


However, a new social network has been released that provides exactly that service. If you're looking to get in touch with your local community, there is now a tool that serves exactly that function: Nextdoor.com. Nextdoor is the social media equivalent of a local meet-and-greet, and while that’s perfectly pleasant, the Norfolk Police Department, (in the U.S not the inbreds) have realised it can be incredibly helpful in the quite important matter of stopping people having crimes done against them. Seriously, like, nobody enjoys it.

According to Police Chief Michael Goldsmith, “The best crime fighting tool is prevention. So if we can use this to get information  out to our citizens and prevent a crime, that’s a huge success for us.” A Nextdoor.com service called Nextdoor for Public Agencies was released in September, and is designed for exactly this reason. As soon as it was released, Norfolk Police saw its potential and immediately began training its officers how to use it. Now, Norfolk police know how to use the site to share emergency notifications, keep their residents up to date about any goings-on, build trust within their local community and even perform virtual neighbourhood watches.
While Nextdoor will never be as big as Facebook or Twitter, it is currently used by more than 40,000 communities across America, with more jumping on board all the time. If the police continue to officially endorse the new social network, this number should shoot up, and communities across the US - and, presumably, worldwide at some point - will sign up to the service en masse.  Official police support will also have the effect of encouraging more elderly people to sign up, most of whom will have never considered using social media before. If this encouragement is increasing the safety of these people, then Norfolk's decision to embrace social media in this way is paying dividends.
In an interview with 13 News Now, which also features a video report on the topic, one user described why using Nextdoor had been so successful. “Those are incidents that would not necessarily make it into the newspaper or on television, but with Nextdoor.com, we all know.” With the app available for free on Android and iPhone, there's no reason that more people and states won’t take the plunge and join in with Nextdoor.


Emile is a postgrad from the University of Saint Mark and Saint John. He’s hoping to break into journalism or publishing, and won’t stop blogging until he’s managed it! Follow him @EmileAtSMF.

Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

US Police Use Social Media To Fight Crime Reviewed by Emile Cole on Friday, November 14, 2014 Rating: 5
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