RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Folks in Union Hill are using twitter to reach out to the Richmond Police Department. It's the region's first crime fighting social media campaign.
They've been at it for 27 days now, putting the locations of alleged drug dealers on the internet through twitter. They say, they're tired of the open air drug market in Union Hill and they've certainly found a unique way to get the city's attention.
Behind closed doors. Watching from their windows. Folks in Union Hill are taking their fight against alleged drug dealers in the neighborhood to police on twitter. They write: "To the pushers and the prostitutes, we live here and we're not going anywhere.", "24th and M…lots of known drug dealers.", and "Same dealer is back at 24 and M."
We don't even know who's behind these tweets and neighbors say they want to keep it that way. The account is shared by at least a dozen people. Who say, for their own safety they want to remain anonymous.
"It is important. People want to feel secure and safe," said Detective John Flores.
Flores knows a thing or two about people worried for their safety, but wanting to help detectives. He runs Crime Stoppers for Richmond Police and says this twitter campaign has his attention,
"It's great, you've increased awareness. The entire city is aware of your problem now in Union Hill, but I think to really combat the problems we need to get the information on record," Flores said.
He means over the phone. He says it's still the best way for citizens to get a response and for police to track a problem.
"I have yet to get a twitter text or anything. Or a facebook message saying crime was happening and we've been able to dispatch somebody and make an arrest," he said.
Then again he says crime fighting may be headed that way.
"Sooner or later somebody's going to be doing it," Flores added.
Crime Stoppers is meeting this week to decide the best way to approach the folks in Union Hill to help them tackle their problem. If you have a tip for police, and want to remain anonymous you can always call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.