Seattle Police launch car-finding tweets: @getyourcarback

We are at the Seattle Police Department‘s West Precinct, where SPD has just officially announced its Twitter account to find stolen cars – @getyourcarback. More after the briefing.

2:45 PM UPDATE: After the briefing, media reps were ushered up to the 911 center to see 27-year SPD veteran communications supervisor Gary Raymond send out the first two tweets (that’s him in the photo above, added 2:56 pm). They will NOT include location information – media unit Sgt. Sean Whitcomb says that could dissuade people from being on the lookout, since a stolen vehicle could be taken far outside the theft area fairly quickly. The full news release announcing the program is on SPD Blotter. We’ll add the stream of tweets to the WSB Crime Watch page as soon as possible, so you can check them even if you don’t want to use Twitter. SPD says that if this works out, they’ll consider expanding their use of Twitter – it could provide instant information on a host of situations, including road closures resulting from police-involved incidents. Until now, the only tweeting that SPD was doing came from the media unit via @SeattlePD – usually links to SPD Blotter reports, with the occasional breaking-news note. The stolen-car tweets will NOT be repeated on @SeattlePD – so if you want to get them from Twitter, you need to follow @getyourcarback. 2 more notes: They will not tweet when a car’s been found – if you see one you saw on Twitter, just go ahead and call 911; if it turns out it’s no longer listed as stolen, they’ll be able to tell. And do not tweet back with information about sightings – CALL 911.

2 Replies to "Seattle Police launch car-finding tweets: @getyourcarback"

  • austin December 2, 2010 (11:06 am)

    Interesting, but should police resources really be used like this to protect drivers who aren’t responsible enough to keep track of their automobiles themselves? If you have a car and you care about whether it gets stolen or not you should garage it, have an alarm with a kill switch, or a lojack system. Like most examples of uses of twitter this seems like time and money that could be better used elsewhere.

    • WSB December 2, 2010 (11:19 am)

      The resources question was asked several different ways (as you can hear in the briefing video). No resources added. The operator’s moving the data anyway. Takes a couple minutes to send. They have a template in Twitter so it’s insert license plate, insert make/model/color, send. They have sent all of four tweets in 21 hours as of last time I checked, so that’s a few minutes taken. Different usage – Twitter also has saved the media unit tons of time taking phone calls along the lines of “are you sending a public-information officer to (incident)?” – they just send a tweet that says “PIO going to whereverincident.” Though I am a Twitter evangelist, I would be the first to say “this is unnecessary” if it seemed to be. – TR

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