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NYPD builds trust via social media

News, 31 August 2015

NEW YORK: The New York Police Department (NYPD) is ramping up its use of social media to rebuild trust with the communities it serves and become more responsive to citizens' everyday concerns.

Zachary Tumin, the NYPD's deputy commissioner/strategic initiatives, discussed this topic on a webcast held by Direct Marketing News.

More specifically, he stated that the organisation has dramatically expanded its presence on Twitter. One illustration of this involved establishing accounts, led by individual commanders, for all of its 123 precincts.

The department has also, via a partnership with crowdsourcing platform IdeaScale, set about creating online communities for each of these areas so residents can raise, and vote on, issues facing their neighbourhood.

"We know that social operates in the moment, and the New York Police Department prides itself on turning on a dime in the moment," said Tumin. (For more, including further examples of how this strategy is being implemented, read Warc's exclusive report: How the NYPD captures attention on social media.)

"You combine those two – citizen in-the-moment insight and the NYPD's ability to turn on a dime – and you get a very powerful combination."

Elaborating on this theme, he suggested that "re-empowering" commanders to connect directly with New Yorkers through social media can help the NYPD improve its standing among sceptical citizens.

"Social breaks down the barriers. The New York Police Department has had many, many issues over the past several years. We're keenly aware of them," said Tumin.

"Our job here is to help build trust and restore confidence in police and policing."

A related benefit of leveraging platforms such as IdeaScale and Twitter lies in tackling the everyday "quality of life" concerns – like graffiti or speeding traffic – which are of interest in "hyper-local" geographies.

"We think when we take action, we need to let people know, 'You've spoken; we've heard; we've taken action,'" Tumin said.

"This is the ability to show citizens that if they invest their good effort in working with us on these platforms it will pay back in highly-responsive policing."

Data sourced from Warc