Crime-fighting, 2012-style: Philly Police tout social-media efforts

Think you’ve been seeing more and more surveillance videos from the police department lately?

That’s because you have. As part of the Philadelphia Police Department’s social-media efforts, which a spokesman for the department says have taken off in the last year, cops are putting out more surveillance videos than ever before — and they say they’re solving more crimes as a result.

Spokesman Lt. Raymond Evers said that a streamlined process for handling video helped cops release 225 clips in the past year, leading to 49 arrests with help from tipsters who saw them.

On Friday, the department’s trumpeting their social-media efforts, which include a PhillyPolice Twitter, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel and will soon include iWatch Philadelphia, a mobile app that lets citizens to send tips via text to the police department. Plus the PPD’s website, which has become much more user friendly in recent years.

Evers says the PPD is the first department in the country to utilize social media the way they do. Since about 45 detectives from the department went through specialized training in February 2011 to capture and enhance surveillance video from all kinds of cameras found at crime scenes around the city, he said, Philly cops have been training officers from other departments in social-media savvy.

Other members of the PPD will also be stepping into 2012 in the coming weeks by getting on Twitter — like forward-thinking Det. Joe Murray of the Southwest Division — to get information out, connect with communities and solve crimes.

Kudos, PPD. We’ll be waiting, ready to retweet.