IMPD pushing social media for community connection

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INDIANAPOLIs, Ind. - IMPD is launching a new campaign to connect with the community and much of it will be done through social media.

Officials say it’s part of the department’s focus on community engagement and they hope it will help people feel more comfortable reporting crimes.

Police hope this push will get people connecting with them through social media. The approach is to focus on a specific issue each month and officials say they’re already seeing some success.

“Really a big part of that is getting the messaging out there and getting it out to the community…that this is what we’re going to focus on this month,” said Officer Jim Gillespie with IMPD.

For example, February is gun month. The hashtags #preventit, #reportit, #secureit all connect back to issues surrounding guns, whether that’s solving crimes involving firearms or teaching kids how to stay safe.

“We want hashtags that are going to be specific to that month’s theme,” said Gillespie.

The department isn’t sure yet what other themes they’ll use in the coming months, but they are certain of the impact social media already has in their investigations.

“We get messages daily,” said Gillespie, “some of those are just ‘hey good job, we love what you’re doing’ but other ones contain sensitive information,” said Gillespie.

Information, officials say, that some people are more comfortable reporting through the anonymity that social media can provide.

Last month, IMPD put out an alert about a child porn video being shared on social media. While the actual crime happened elsewhere, IMPD authorities said many users reported the video to them via social media.

“We had numerous messages that came in about that,” said Gillespie.

IMPD said it also plans to share the results of each month’s social media theme during community meetings at the end of every month.