Community Policing: How Social Media can Start the Conversation
“Community Policing” and “Law Enforcement and Social Media” may sound familiar to many members of the law enforcement community. That’s because they’re both extremely valuable tactics for police officers to utilize to connect with their residents, lower the crime rate in their jurisdiction, and even jump-start recruitment efforts. If you are unfamiliar with exactly what community policing is, you can learn more here. On the most basic level, community policing is simply opening a dialogue with residents. This can take many forms, from creating a substation that is more welcoming to the public to having officers walk the beat and introduce themselves to local residents. These methods can be very effective, but often take extra time, training and resources to set up. One of the simplest, quickest and most effective ways to connect with residents is by having a conversation with them through social media. So how can promoting community policing through social media help your agency? For more information on this topic, click here to read best practices from Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwSComm, for setting up a law enforcement social media strategy. Beyond simply connecting with residents, community policing through social media has been a critical strategy for agencies across the country, many of which have seen their crime rates drop by leveraging social media and the community. Agencies such as the NYPD (saw a major felony crime rate drop of 5.3% across the city from 2013-2015) and the University of California Berkeley Police Department (saw a 12% decrease in violent crimes and a 24% decrease in property crimes in 2015) have seen significant drops in their crime rates after implementing community policing strategies. A number of useful strategies for reducing crime through social media can be found in this article. Lastly, it’s no secret that agencies across the country have been struggling to find new recruits in recent years. While many departments have been trying different strategies, many are overlooking the potential of social media as a recruiting tool. Almost 90% of internet users between the ages of 18-29 are using social media, according to the Pew Research Center. This represents a massive collection of individuals who could be perfect for law enforcement but may not be getting reached. Michael Parker, Commander of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (Retired) has numerous strategies he utilized for creative recruiting that can be heard in his webinar here. Learn more about Community Policing. Discover how Everbridge Nixle can help your agency connect with residents here.