Back in the olden days, people questioned the value of Twitter. They’d say things like “no one cares what you had for breakfast” or “no one cares what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast.” These days everyone, including one SFPD station, seems to appreciate Twitter’s ability to foment revolution in authoritarian Middle Eastern states, inform us what Justin Beiber had for breakfast, and now, let us know what crime’s going down in their district.
Leveraging the technology for something even more useful than watching the star of All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 hilariously self-destruct his way into a gig judging America’s Got Talent, the SFPD has set up an account on the microblogging service giving real time crime alerts for the Richmond District.
Gaining over 139 followers at publication time, the @Richmond_SFPD account, is no Charlie Sheenesque record shatterer, but tweets like “ATM machine keys glued- Geary @ 19th Av-thieves can withdraw cash when you go into the bank to retrieve your card. Be careful” and “Officers will focus traffic enforcement today on California St. btwn Presidio Avenue and Steiner Street today. Please slow down”, the account has instantly become a key repository of local safety information for the Richmond.
While the SFPD has had an official Twitter account as of 2009 and an account listing DUI checkpoints since last year, the push to get Twitter working on the level of individual stations is relatively new. There are currently four officers tweeting in the Richmond district and Captain Richard Corriea is hoping to encourage more to start using the service.
And we certainly hope that other stations will follow their example. Imagine the fun tweets officers at Central Station could publish every night as they shepherd North Beach bargoers home. And alerts from the Tenderloin Station…the mind reels.
Will people care what their friendly neighborhood police officer had for breakfast? Only time will tell. But, at the moment, SFPD might want to follow @CharlieSheen, you know, just in case.