SPD announces “Get your car back” on Twitter: Using social networking to combat auto thefts

 

This year through October, 3,011 cars have been stolen in the City of Seattle.  That is an average of 9.9 a day and up from 8.46 cars per day during the same period a year ago.  While Seattle certainly isn’t the stolen car capital of the United States – Laredo, TX has that distinction* – the number of auto thefts and the fact that they have increased has kept auto theft prevention a priority.

Effective today, the Seattle Police Department will begin to tweet stolen car information in the hopes that that victims of auto theft will be able to get their cars back sooner and to let thieves know that their stolen rides just got hotter. 

The protocols for tweeting auto theft are simple.  When a car is reported stolen in Seattle, employees in the Seattle Police 911 Center will tweet the color, year, make, model, body style and license plate of the stolen car.  Twitter followers who spot a car that has been tweeted as stolen on “Get your car back” should call 911.  Citizens are directed not to make contact when coming into contact with a previously tweeted stolen car and any potential occupants.  All 911 calls will be screened to ensure that the car information is correctly matched and to verify that the car has not been returned to its rightful owner. If the car is still listed as stolen, the information will be broadcast so that officers can respond to the area.  Stolen cars that have been recovered will not be tweeted – in other words, leave the sorting of what is stolen and what is not to the experts at 911.    

Chief Diaz says “I believe that this program will integrate seamlessly into our strategy to prevent and reduce auto theft in Seattle.  It will also serve to increase public awareness on the subject.” 

The Twitter site for this new program can be found at http://twitter.com/getyourcarback.  Seattle PD currently has 6,980 followers on Twitter.  If you aren’t following us already, you can do so by visiting http://twitter.com/seattlepd 

Additional information regarding auto theft and crime prevention can be found at http://seattle.gov/police/prevention.  

Also, check out Seattle PD’s latest crime prevention campaign, “They’re watching…” by visiting http://seattle.gov/police/prevention/watching

* According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)