Several police departments in south-central Kansas are taking a proactive step toward reducing crime in their communities: They've started using a social media campaign called the “9 p.m. Routine."
Every night at 9 p.m. police departments in Andover, Arkansas City and McPherson take to Facebook or Twitter to remind people to lock their homes and cars, remove valuables, and close garage doors.
Lt. Ben Graber of the Andover Police Department says the nightly reminders are an easy way to help reduce crimes of opportunity.
"If somebody is walking down the road and they’re shaking car handles, and they see a car that’s unlocked, they’re going to go in real quick and grab what they can and leave," Graber says. "If a car is locked, they’re not going to want to spend too much time and [they're] not going to want to make too much noise."
Graber says they started using online outreach after a string of car break-ins happened last month. He says they’ve had 40 cases through mid-July, putting the city on track to break its record for car break-ins in recent years. He says in 2010, there were 80 car break-ins.
Graber says social media is the way to go to get information out to public.
"A lot of people anymore, before they go to bed, they check their social media," Graber says. "If they can see that reminder on their newsfeed, or how ever they get their information, then the last thing they see is a reminder to lock your doors. We’re hoping that someone will see that and think 'Oh, I forgot to lock my doors,' and will go out and shut it real quick and then go to bed."
The Andover Police Department also has a garage door program in which officers alert homeowners when they discover a garage door is left open late at night or overnight.
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