There may be unintended negative consequences to this Philly cops neighborhood feed, but in leiu of cops walking the beat and getting to know the people they police face to face, the Southwest Philly Cop Joe Murray’s twitter feed seemed like a good, if not very good, development (From Philebrity) for Community Policing:
Joseph Murray, a detective in the Southwest Division, has been tweeting crime alerts, tips, and news directly to citizens for around two years. But recently, according to the Inquirer, his twitter account has been silent because of a rule inside the PPD requiring officers to, “get departmental permission before using their official titles on social-media sites.”
I think he may have innovated a communication method that can help police you know, be trusted members of the community (From the Inquirer article linked above):
Murray opened up his Twitter account in 2009 – 9143 is his badge number – and sees it as just another way to build trust and arm people with information.
“My goal was for people to actually know me – a detective they could pick up the phone and call,” he said.[…]
He provides updates and information after violent crimes, like murders, and posts suspect photos and invites tips to his private e-mail.[…]
In September, residents around 48th and Springfield, a neighborhood of stately Victorians, whose inhabitants include many professionals and students, held a meeting after the rape and robbery of a couple coming home from dinner. The residents invited Murray, whom they knew from Twitter.[…]
“It makes no sense to me to watch sitting ducks walk into a robbery pattern that I know about but they don’t,” he said.
I think this is an efficient and smart innovation. Residents have a petition up in favor of Murray’s tweets and the PPD has responded and said Murray’s twitter updates will be back soon.