MSN Live Space News Blog.

Posted by John de Leon

From Times staff reporter Sara Jean Green:

At 2:28 p.m. Wednesday, Seattle police 911 dispatch supervisor Gary Raymond sent his first stolen-vehicle tweet:

A brown, 1984, four-door Toyota Camry with Washington license plate number 455 XGP had been reported stolen from the Ballard area around 8 a.m.

“We have 36 (Twitter) followers already. How about that?” Raymond said from his desk in the Seattle Police Department‘s 911 communications center, located on the second floor of the West Precinct on Virginia Street.

Seattle police already have 7,000 Twitter followers for its regular department account — — but on Wednesday, the department launched a new account:

“It’s a force multiplier,” with citizens helping police spot stolen vehicles and hopefully, get them back to their owners more quickly, said Lt. Mike Edwards of the department’s investigations procedures unit.

Criminals are already using social networking, even posting updates on Twitter and Facebook about the houses they’ve broken into or the items they’ve stolen, Edwards said.

“It’s just one more thing they’re using, so we want to use it too,” he said during a news briefing to announce the launch of the department’s new Twitter campaign.

Police departments in Albuquerque, N.M., and San Jose, Calif., have already been issuing Twitter alerts about stolen cars and have seen some marked success, Edwards said.

Seattle has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of stolen cars in recent years. But some 3,000 vehicles are still stolen every year, and police recover about 80 percent of them, he said.

It’s Edwards’ hope that people who see the tweets will call 911 when they spot a stolen vehicle. The department hopes the new tool will further reduce car thefts in the city between 10 and 20 percent, he said.

Example of a @getyourcarback tweet






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