Residents recommending more police information on social media
by BRIAN NADIG
Better use of social media to promote beat meetings and crime alerts was one of the recommendations made at an Oct. 16 workshop on drafting a strategic community policing plan for the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District.
"We really appreciate your feedback," sergeant Jeffery Aaron told the 150 people who attended the district’s "Community Conversation" event at Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett Ave. "It’s going to help us … in formulating our 2020 plan."
The district has Twitter and Facebook accounts, but some of the workshop’s participants suggested that the district also use other social media platforms, such as Snapchat, which are popular with younger people. Others said that officers should attend more school events as part of an effort to positively interact with students.
Another suggestion called for the district to Facebook live beat meetings to accommodate people who cannot attend. Beat meetings often include updates on recent crime trends, and beat officers are often available to answer questions.
It also was recommended that the district should conduct more outreach to victims. The district has a court advocacy program but has been seeking more volunteers, who attend court cases in support of the victims.
Also at the meeting, residents were asked to name the "key" crime problems facing the district. Catalytic converter thefts and scams targeting seniors were among the issues raised at the workshop.
District commander Maureen Biggane invited participants to attend a follow-up meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Wright College, in which a draft of the strategic plan will be presented.
"It’s important for you to be here so we know that we heard you correctly," Biggane said.
Each district is required to hold annual planning workshops as part of a 2018 consent decree that is designed to address issues of police violence and bias in the city.
The 2019 community policing plan called for increased police presence via foot and bike patrols and missions to combat property crimes as well as to prevent robberies, particularly those involving cellphones and vehicles. The district has battled these issues in the past through the assistance from the Violent Crimes Task Force and through traffic and index crime mission.
Aside from patrols and missions, the strategies called for police visibility via outdoor roll calls or "positive loitering" events with community groups, the local aldermen and residents.
The plan also included the goal of increased interaction with seniors via a "Support Your Senior" campaign, education about deceptive fraud and safety talks at assisted living facilities.