When a group of armed robbers recently struck several Seattle homes, police increased their presence both on the street and online, says the Seattle Times. Hundreds of residents of three neighborhoods were alerted to the home-invasion robberies through a police e-mail message. Police believe a combination of tips provided by neighbors, descriptions given by victims, and detectives’ work enabled them to identify a robbery suspect.
Residents formerly met with officers personally to discuss problems. As people’s schedules have grown tighter and attendance at such meetings has dipped, a Seattle precinct has taken to sending crime-prevention tips and neighborhood crime-trend warnings to people directly – via e-mail. “It’s a no-brainer. I want to see it citywide,” said Assistant Chief Harry Bailey. “There’s a lot of people who can’t make it to the community meetings, and we can’t get to them any other way.” Says another officer: “Everybody knows we don’t have enough officers to drive around every neighborhood. [The e-mail is] validating. The more we can educate people, the more they can help us.”