‘Social media a great tool for crime prevention’
The city police have turned social media into an effective tool for crime prevention.
Most posts by citizens on the Bengaluru City Police (BCP) Facebook page pertain to flagging neighbourhood safety issues that gives the police actionable information, and helps grassroots policing, said a study of the BCP social media outreach.
The study, ‘Social Networks for Police and Residents in India: Exploring Online Communication for Crime Prevention’, conducted by the Cybersecurity Education and Research Centre (CERC), Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Delhi, took the social media outreach of the city police as a case study.
The study analysed all posts during a one-month period from July 21 to August 21, 2014. Of the 255 posts from citizens during the period, 36 were regarding neighbourhood safety issues, such as alerting cops about eve-teasers, street violence and unidentified vehicles. An analysis of these posts revealed that most of them are detailed enough.
The study found that if there was lack of information, police requested for more information and was provided in 29 follow-up posts. An analysis of the response of the BCP to the posts by residents reveals that cops have replied to 172 posts with an action-taken report on Facebook. The average response time was found to be over 30 hours.
The analysis further showed that whenever the residents have come back to complain of dissatisfaction with the solution provided, police have not further responded to such posts.
Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi agreed with the study and said posts about neighbourhood issues had given them inputs that they found a great tool for crime prevention and helped grassroots policing.
The study also found that Facebook had also turned into a reliable public platform to report misbehaviour by cops, to air their complaints, fears and worries.
“It provides opportunities for the police to obtain information about what frustrates the public and hold its officers accountable,” the study said.