The Boston Police Department has a larger Twitter fan base – more than 39,200 followers – than any other local law enforcement agency in the U.S., dwarfing the followers of Houston, Los Angeles, and Chicago police departments while edging out New York City, the Boston Globe reports.
With the help of a text-a-tip program and a new Twitter campaign, the department has seen a rapid increase in crime-solving tips. “It’s been really amazing for us,” said spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll. “Use of social media has provided an additional outlet for people to interact with law enforcement.” Lauri Stevens – founder of LAwS Communications, a consulting company that helps law enforcement agencies expand into social media – said most police departments have been slow to embrace opportunities presented by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Those who have, she said, find that they can communicate quickly with a larger number of residents and that it does not require much extra money or staff.