Police to help manage Canada Day crowds via social media channels

Civilians without a lick of police training can help officers keep the peace in downtown Victoria on Canada Day, by staying alert and keeping their smartphones at the ready.

For the first time, Canada Day party-goers are invited to send in concerns or questions, tips about alcohol-related incidents and minor trouble in progress, such as acts of vandalism, to police via social media.

A Victoria police officer will be monitoring messages posted on Twitter with the hashtag #vicpdhelps, on July 1 only.

Emergencies should still be reported by calling 911, but the Twitter hashtag could be used “if you’re out and about and see something that police need to know about,” said Const. Mike Russell, who developed the innovative policing approach.

The department is believed to be the first in Canada to proactively try address incidents during a large public celebration via Twitter, a social media channel that people use to instantly send out 140-character messages.

“It’s usually things like, ‘Hey, there’s a guy that’s passed out drunk beside me,’ or ‘Hey I see a guy that’s bootlegging for people at this liquor store,'” said Russell.

Last year, social media tips allowed police to stop adults who were buying booze for minors from liquor stores in James Bay.

Chances are good that social media users will be able to alert police to incidents in the making. Last July 1, 128,000 people viewed the department’s Twitter feeds, Youtube videos and Facebook posts.

This latest initiative allows the department to proactively build upon that connection, helping ensure the party stays family friendly when more than 40,000 people converge on the provincial capital Sunday.

“I thought there has to be growth in what you do otherwise you just become stale,” Russell said of the #vicpdhelps idea.

“Because Canada Day is such a busy day for our department, we’re mobilizing every communication strategy and that’s why this #vicpdhelps is for Canada Day only.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

Be in the know:

Follow the Victoria Police Department online at www.facebook.com/victoriapolicedepartment, on Twitter.com @vicpdcanada and on youtube.com/vicpdcanada. You can also keep up to date on the latest Canada Day news in Victoria by following tweets with the #yyjcanadaday hashtag.

Canada Day was VicPD’s busiest night of 2011:

Calls for service: There were 264 calls Canada Day night, compared to 150 calls typically received in a 24-hour period.

Crowds: almost 35,000

Kept in police jail cells overnight: 85 people

Arrested for public intoxication: 80, including 22 from Saanich and 15 from the West Shore

 

Police safety tips for Canada Day:

Don’t bring liquor downtown

Plan a safe way home, in light of road closures and parking limitations

Fireworks without a permit are banned

 

Just Posted

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read