One of the beauties of social media is law enforcement’s ability to present information to the public in a quick and timely manner. Whether it’s a Tweet about a traffic incident, a suspect’s photo on Facebook or an alert via Nixle, we have the ability — now more than ever — to connect and inform our community, fast.
On the one hand, social media’s insertion into law enforcement allows for greater public visibility. On the other, it uncovers a window into the ever-present reality of crime. This new perspective can often be a surprising and jarring transition for communities as police departments make public incidents, trends and statistics. It requires a mindset shift from the unknown to the known as we begin to consistently disseminate information to the public.
It is MVPD’s hope this level of transparency not only provides additional clarity into how we serve the community, but is the impetus needed to create connections within your own neighborhood. Combine these interactions with a wholistic approach to crime prevention and criminal apprehension and the confluence of community, law enforcement and social becomes a very powerful force.
“It [social media] requires a mindset shift from the unknown to the known…”
Recent uptick in bike thefts? Know what resources are at your disposal to prevent and support you during and after an incident occurs. As an example, you can register your bike in Mountain View, so in the event it’s stolen and recovered, we can positively identify who it belongs to.
Residential burglaries hitting your area? Helps us prevent and deter would-be criminals from approaching your home through neighborhood meetings. MVPD’s Community Action and Information Unit works with a myriad of organizations to discuss various safety tips and other crime prevention tools to help keep your family, home and neighborhood safe.
Social media is a great tool allowing us to reach a wide audience within a short amount of time. However, it’s just that: a tool. We still need the human power — in tandem with social media — to further strengthen our neighborhoods so we can provide a safer and more secure community for all.
About the author: Lieutenant Chris Hsiung is assigned to Special Operations and is the social media manager in charge of strategy, community engagement and growth through the police department social media channels. Chris has been serving the Mountain View community for over 18 years and has held a variety of assignments within MVPD. These include detective assignments in Property Crimes, Person Crimes, and High Tech Crimes as well as collateral assignments on SWAT and the Field Evidence Team. Twitter: @chMtnViewPD.
About the co-author: Shino Tanaka is MVPD’s Public Safety and Social Media Community Coordinator where she also leads the Community Action and Information Unit. Shino drives the department’s social strategy and community relations. Prior to joining MVPD, she worked in social product development for technology start-ups — one of which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson. Shino is also a former police officer with Menlo Park Police Department.