Government Technology

Oakland, Calif., Police Use Twitter to Fight Crime


When Oakland, Calif., police Capt. Anthony Toribio heard the details of the Feb. 23 shooting at a McDonald's on Telegraph Avenue, the veteran officer did something he wouldn't have considered just a few years ago: He turned on his laptop and started typing.

Toribio sent out a description of the shooting suspects to the 11,000 people who follow the Police Department on Twitter, the 971 who follow his account, @area2opd, and thousands more who subscribe to Nixle and Nextdoor crime alerts.

Within an hour, a woman who had read the alert called police: The suspects were across the street in the Infiniti sedan that fled the McDonald's. Police raced to the scene, arrested the men and seized the gun used in the shooting, Toribio said.

Even just a few years ago, Toribio said, Oakland police never would have asked the public for help.

"We would have broadcast this out to the patrol officers working the street," Toribio said. "It may have been days, if not weeks, if ever, before it got out to the community."

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