Police to help manage Canada Day crowds via social media channels

Civilians without a lick of police training can help officers keep the peace in downtown Victoria on Canada Day, by staying alert and keeping their smartphones at the ready.

For the first time, Canada Day party-goers are invited to send in concerns or questions, tips about alcohol-related incidents and minor trouble in progress, such as acts of vandalism, to police via social media.

A Victoria police officer will be monitoring messages posted on Twitter with the hashtag #vicpdhelps, on July 1 only.

Emergencies should still be reported by calling 911, but the Twitter hashtag could be used “if you’re out and about and see something that police need to know about,” said Const. Mike Russell, who developed the innovative policing approach.

The department is believed to be the first in Canada to proactively try address incidents during a large public celebration via Twitter, a social media channel that people use to instantly send out 140-character messages.

“It’s usually things like, ‘Hey, there’s a guy that’s passed out drunk beside me,’ or ‘Hey I see a guy that’s bootlegging for people at this liquor store,'” said Russell.

Last year, social media tips allowed police to stop adults who were buying booze for minors from liquor stores in James Bay.

Chances are good that social media users will be able to alert police to incidents in the making. Last July 1, 128,000 people viewed the department’s Twitter feeds, Youtube videos and Facebook posts.

This latest initiative allows the department to proactively build upon that connection, helping ensure the party stays family friendly when more than 40,000 people converge on the provincial capital Sunday.

“I thought there has to be growth in what you do otherwise you just become stale,” Russell said of the #vicpdhelps idea.

“Because Canada Day is such a busy day for our department, we’re mobilizing every communication strategy and that’s why this #vicpdhelps is for Canada Day only.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

Be in the know:

Follow the Victoria Police Department online at www.facebook.com/victoriapolicedepartment, on Twitter.com @vicpdcanada and on youtube.com/vicpdcanada. You can also keep up to date on the latest Canada Day news in Victoria by following tweets with the #yyjcanadaday hashtag.

Canada Day was VicPD’s busiest night of 2011:

Calls for service: There were 264 calls Canada Day night, compared to 150 calls typically received in a 24-hour period.

Crowds: almost 35,000

Kept in police jail cells overnight: 85 people

Arrested for public intoxication: 80, including 22 from Saanich and 15 from the West Shore

 

Police safety tips for Canada Day:

Don’t bring liquor downtown

Plan a safe way home, in light of road closures and parking limitations

Fireworks without a permit are banned

 

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Most Read