Police fight crime online

Forbes residents have a new way of finding out about crime in their own community following the introduction of the Lachlan Area Command Facebook page.
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Known as ‘Eyewatch’ the Facebook page aims to encourage communication between the community and police by using social media.

It is hoped the new method will help push down crime in the process.

A range of issues will be posted on the online page including stolen cars, thefts and information requests by police.

Major accident reports, links to other sites and general police activity reports will also be posted.

Since it was launched on February 7 the page has had 161 ‘Likes’ and 18,000 views.

Sergeant Ben Dawson of the LAC said initially the page provided information and links about the floods, but now they are over, other crime information is now being posted.

“More recently we had two stolen boats – one at Condobolin and one at Parkes – and we put photos on there,” Sgt Dawson said.

Sgt Dawson said Facebook users need to ‘Like’ the page so they can receive updates.

“Primarily it is hoped it will eventually replace Neighbourhood Watch meetings,” Sgt Dawson said.

NSW project manager Chief Inspector Josh Maxwell said the program was devised in acknowledgement that while people still cared about their community, they no longer had time to attend regular meetings in a community hall.

‘Eyewatch’ is not limited to the LAC, with 68 of the 80 area commands in NSW now online.

It is estimated the 68 area command Facebook pages have generated more than 13 million hits in just six months.

Sgt Dawson said information is regularly added to the page, but warned it is not for reporting crime.

“It’s not for reporting crime. We still encourage people to report to the police or Crime Stoppers,” he said.

Sgt Dawson said a number of older residents use Facebook to keep in touch with their children and extended family.

“I see it definitely working in other areas … and I believe it will work here. Once people are linked to it, [the page] provides information they may not have otherwise received,” Sgt Dawson said.

To find out more go to Facebook and ‘like’ Lachlan LAC – NSW Police Force.

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