Police join Facebook
Sept. 16, 2010 at 4:16 a.m.
OTHER PD ONLINE VENTURESName that Suspect: Look at photos of suspects in the area to the tune of Jeopardy music. If you can identify the suspects, contact Crime Stoppers for a cash reward.
CrimeReports.com: Receive reports of crimes and see when and where they happen around the city. Updated near-real time as officers submit reports.
Both links can be found on the department's Web site: www.victoriatx.org/police/index.asp
The Victoria Police Department wants to be your friend.
Since the department debuted its Facebook page late Tuesday night, more than 550 people have seized that opportunity, and Police Chief Bruce Ure said he's still counting . . . and confirming.
"This is about as non-traditional as you can get for a police department," Ure said.
He and Officer Chris Guerra are manning the site, which Ure said is an opportunity to supply the public with real-time information, such as traffic or weather concerns.
It's a fun way to connect with the community, too.
A post Thursday morning by Officer Guerra read, "Good Morning FB friends! Be safe while you're heading to work today, and look out for the kiddo's making their way to school. Have a great day!
PS - Hopefully you aren't reading this while driving!!"
Ure said he hopes Facebook will aid in the department's focus on crime prevention.
"The whole goal is to help citizens be aware of what's going on," he said. "We consider an educated citizen a member of our crime-fighting team."
Stefanie Weaver, 24, said she sent a friend request to the department in an effort to be more informed.
"I hope to gain information about the crime rates and alerts in town" she said in a Facebook message.
The department's page does not allow for two-way communication - meaning "likes" or comments - because Ure said he wanted to avoid debates that would most likely overcrowd information-sharing.
But the page is full of contact information.
A post by Ure asking for help identifying a theft suspect in a photo has the assigned detective's contact information.
"In order for us to chisel away at crime, we have to have the public's help."
The latest public service announcement released by the police department warns citizens of posting too much private information on social networking sites.
Ure said that's the advantage of police having a Facebook page, though.
"What you post on Facebook never goes away. So people who commit crime better beware - a lot more than Victoria will be seeing that picture."
The Victoria Police Department's Facebook page can be found by searching "Victoria Police" on Facebook.