A local Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) station that is leading the way in law enforcement social media outreach has added a new tool to its arsenal. The Northeast LA Division, located in Glassell Park, is broadcasting videos featuring one of their area captains on the Internet to let people know what’s going on in their area.
While crime updates in the form of written newsletters and e-blasts are common in the LAPD, the videos put a face and voice to the local law enforcement agency whose jurisdiction includes East Hollywood and communities east of the Los Angeles River, but north of the Hollenbeck police division.
In a recent five-minute TV broadcast news style video, Captain William Murphy discusses the reassignment of senior lead officers and recent crime data. Murphy tells EGP that he stopped writing newsletters months ago because they took four or five hours to complete.
He said the videos are more time efficient, lasting 7 minutes or less. Produced once or twice a month, they at times also feature Northeast area detectives giving out information. That’s not to say written communication has gone away altogether, according to Murphy, who said residents can still expect to get their e-blasts from senior lead officers.
Murphy told EGP that his background teaching classes as a training commanding officer helped prepare him for his role in front of the camera. He said he is able to tape the video segments with few hesitations or retakes, but did admit to using notes when being filmed.
The police station’s Crime Analysis Detail (CAD) produces the webcasts in-house with equipment fundraised and donated to the station by the B.L.E.N.D. (Business Law Enforcement Northeast Division) police booster association, according to Officer Curtis Davis and Murphy.
“[Capt. Murphy] He’s a big supporter of social media in law enforcement, he’s a big driver of this,” Davis told EGP. “This is part of the goal we are trying to achieve: speaking directly to the community in the northeast… Interaction is a big part of our goal.”
According to LAPD Media Relations Officer Rosario Herrera, the LAPD does not require police stations to use social media, however Facebook, Nixle and Twitter are some options available to them to inform the community, to put out a crime alert, or seek more information from the public.
The Northeast station does not receive any special grants or funding from the city for their social media efforts, which Murphy said have become a valuable educational component aimed at changing people’s behavior in order to keep crime rates down.
In each video, viewers are reminded to “Lock it, Hide it, Keep it” as part of a campaign to create awareness about auto-related crime prevention: Keep valuables and electronics out of sight in order to prevent break-ins and theft, is the message.
Social media is also helping residents help the police. Over 100 tips have been submitted through social media to the Northeast Police Officers, according to Murphy.
In his Feb. 2 webcast, Capt. Murphy responds to concerned residents who don’t want their local senior lead officers (SLOs)—police who serve as liaisons in specific communities—to be reassigned. Murphy said the recent changes were made because two SLOs were retiring and others wanted to be transferred.
Murphy said Northeast Division’s reassignments are their first in five-years. The new SLOs are from the division and have been filling in for a while, so their faces should be familiar to many local residents, Murphy said.
“None of them are leaving northeast,” said Murphy referring to the SLOs. “They may move to an adjacent neighborhood, they may go from Eagle Rock to Highland Park, or maybe Atwater to Cypress Park but they are not leaving Northeast… I know you’re going to love your new senior lead officer so give them a chance,” he says on the video.
He goes on to say that the Northeast Los Angeles division has been leading the city in violent crime reduction, a trend that he said had continued during the last four weeks. Violent crime is down 46 percent in this short time frame, though grand theft auto and theft from motor vehicle continues to be a problem, accounting for 50 to 55 percent of all crime. Last year, grand theft auto and theft from motor vehicle was about 65 percent of all crime, his webcast informs local stakeholders.
Murphy went on to tell his online audience that strategic use of overnight patrols, when most of the car-related crimes were occurring, may have also impacted those types of crime. Criminals are now more active during the daytime to early evening hours instead of the middle of the night, (midnight to 6 a.m.), when these crimes were previously occurring, he said.
The Northeast LAPD Station can be found at Facebook.com and Twitter.com under the name “Northeast Area LAPD.” Videos can also be seen under the name “LAPDNortheast” on Youtube.com
BLEND’s next fundraiser is a golf tournament scheduled for April 26, Murphy encourages the public to participate or donate, proceeds will go toward the station’s youth programs, the Northeast Boxing Program and the station’s social media outreach effort. For more information on the tournament, contact Sgt. Ruben Arellano at email@example.com or Officer Fernando Ochoa at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call them at (323) 344-5712.
The Northeast LAPD division oversees the communities of Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Mount Washington, Garvanza, Atwater Village, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Solano Canyon.