Friday, March 23, 2012

Beleaguered auto town tweets the crime beat

The GM-built Michigan town of Flint has seen better days. As Flint is fettered by an unemployment rate described as "so high that it cannot be properly measured," their debilitated police department is struggling  to keep up with rising crime.

Enter the Flint Police Operations social group, who have designed a Neighborhood Watch for the digital millennium.

Yeah, I know - just like that thing in Dark Knight
TechCrunch has an awesome article about the FPO: this 21-person outfit keeps over 30,000 people in the Flint area aware and informed about what's happening on the streets, whether it's tweets:
SHOTS FIRED=2700 blk Eaton Place, 6 shots heard, nothing seen. #Flint.
Or live streaming scanner chatter and 911 calls online, the FPO wields a powerful weapon against the violent elements in their neighborhoods: information.

But this isn't just Mark Zuckerberg as Batman - the FPO shuns the idea of being a vigilante organization in a high-tech underwater headquarters. 
"But much as a community watch organization keeps safe watch over a neighborhood, FPO is encouraging the residents of Flint to do the same en masse. “See something, say something” is FPO’s underlying message."
FPO has assembled a small army of night watchmen, all eager to help "save Flint from within." They're already responsible for two arrests yet TC says there's no way to tell if it's making a visible impact on the crime numbers.

Anyway, go read TechCrunch's article or see FPO in action on their Facebook page

VIA: TechCrunch
SOURCE: Flint Police Operations Facebook Group

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