Cambridge Police Announce New, Automated, Real-Time Tweets

Information on serious incidents to be shared with the public 24/7


2/19/2013

Cambridge Police are excited to announce the department will now be sharing more information with the public via social media, sending automated tweets of high-profile incidents in real-time.Twitter

“This is something we’ve had in the works for a while,” said Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas.  “We believe strongly in the ability of social media to communicate with the public in a timely manner, and tweeting information about serious incidents will better inform our residents about what types of incidents police are responding to in their community.”

With the help of the Cambridge Emergency Communications Department, the development of code which interfaces with the department’s dispatch system now allows police to automatically tweet certain types of incidents as they occur throughout the city.

Previously, the department’s Twitter account (@CambridgePolice) was manually updated, mainly during normal business hours.  Now, tweets will be sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when police receive reports of certain types of incidents police have deemed important for the public to be aware of.

These tweets will consist of a time stamp, the type of incident, and a street name given for the location.  All will also contain the language “report of possible” at the beginning of each tweet to indicate that the call that came in to dispatchers was reporting a possible crime which may or may not be confirmed upon officers’ arrival.

In October, the Seattle Police Department became the first in the nation to launch a similar program, using 51 hyper-local neighborhood Twitter accounts to share crime data.

“We won’t be tweeting every incident our officers respond to as we don’t want to inundate our followers with information,” said Commissioner Haas.  “But serious incidents will now be shared with our followers on a short delay to allow officers time to respond to calls.”

All calls for service and arrests will continue to be available in the Daily Public Log, posted on the department’s website each business day.

Cambridge Police would like to remind residents that social media is not to be used to report crimes or emergencies to the police.  The @CambridgePolice Twitter account will not be monitored outside of business hours, and those requiring an immediate response to a public safety issue should always dial 9-1-1.

Those interested in receiving real-time tweets with crime and other information from the Cambridge Police Department should follow @CambridgePolice on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CambridgePolice.

A complete list of incidents which will be tweeted is available below:

  • A&B DW in Progress Assault
  • Armed Robbery
  • Attempted Armed Robbery
  • Attempted Robbery
  • Assault in Progress
  • Bank Robbery in Progress
  • Carjacking in Progress Larceny of MV
  • Fight
  • Found Child
  • Bomb Threats
  • Kidnapping
  • Larceny in Progress
  • Person with Gun
  • Robbery in Progress
  • Street Blocked
  • Tree Down
  • Unarmed Robbery

Learn more about the new tweets by watching Commissioner Haas on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney:

Watch Feb. 27, 2013: Cambridge Alert System on PBS. See more from Greater Boston.

UPDATE 3/18/2013: Cambridge Police have, based on follower feedback, added more specific address location information to our automated tweets. Learn more.

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Robert C. Haas
Commissioner

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