Note: I’ve been writing a lot about the Toronto Police Service lately and thought I should diversify a bit. But, I’ve decided I’m going to go ahead and write more about TPS for several reasons: 1) TPS has many great success stories about their use of social media 2) they don’t seem to mind telling me about them, and 3) because THIS story absolutely astounds me…
Police in Toronto, Ontario (TPS) are looking for a murderer and are currently waging an all-out online effort in social media to find him. When Zabiullah Mojaddedi intervened in a street robbery last month, two men opened fire on him. One arrest has been made. Tristan Lall, 25, was on a lifetime court-ordered ban from firearms. He has been charged with first-degree murder. TPS CrimeStoppers Unit, lead by Constable Scott Mills, is spreading the word with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
The murder took place in a heavily populated city park, right next to a basketball court. The video above has been posted on YouTube by TPS. In it, Detective Peter Code says, “there’s no doubt in my mind that there’s somebody out there that knows who was with Tristan Lall that evening.”
Anyone with any information is asked to call 416-808-7393 or can leave information anonymously at 416-222-TIPS or 800-222-TIPS or go to www.222tips.com, or by texting TOR and your message to 274637. Twitter is @1800222TIPS, Facebook is www.facebook.com/800222tips
I received two e-mails this week which highlighted the challenges we are up against in this new age of media. Both people were not pleased with how quickly they received information about crimes reported in our city.
In one case, a subscriber felt she should have been notified about an attempted distraction theft at the mall immediately through the Nixle system. The second customer was unhappy that he read about a robbery at a local pizza business in the newspaper days after the event.
In both of the cases mentioned above, we quickly generated news releases within 24 hours of the events, so the natural reaction was to get defensive. We have really worked hard at being more open and informative. We have opened up many channels of communication to include crime alerts, offender notifications, interactive mapping, a newsletter, video programming, Nixle, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. What more can we do?
Upon reflection, it’s clear that both cases offered lessons to learn and opportunities for improvement. To date, we have limited the use of Nixle to primarily real-time and ongoing events (traffic snarls, missing persons, suspect searches, etc.). We will now expand our use of Nixle to include past events which have obvious public safety implications. We may do the same with other e-mail databases.
Given limited resources and an overabundance of information out there, the traditional media will be limited on what they cover and how quickly they do it. These cases highlight the need for us to more effectively drive people to our content. We will now be posting releases to our site, as opposed to simply sending the information via e-mails to the local media outlets. We are also working on some other ideas for improving the speed and the quality of content, giving people more reasons to want to visit our site.
I asked for feedback and I got it. Keep it coming.