Residents of Stegavik Court, a neighbourhood in North Delta, have taken to Facebook to create a virtual block watch.
Similar to an app called Next Door, the residents are using the Facebook group they created to communicate on a number of different topics, including issues of property crime and other criminal activity in the area.
Recently, there was a police situation in the neighbourhood that caused some concern and the residents connected with Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord and Acting-Sergeant Sarah Swallow through the page.
“The use of social media to connect residents to each other and the police is a huge asset for us,” said Chief Dubord of the Stegavik Court group. “They are proactive and tuned-in to what is going on in their neighbourhood and that gives the police a big leg-up in gathering the intelligence we need to get ahead of criminal activity. It also allows us to have a comprehensive dialogue with the community so that we understand what is happening in the area.”
Delta North MLA Scott Hamilton said he is impressed with this interactive approach to public safety.
“Our police department is highly accountable to the public and reacts quickly to citizen concerns. I appreciate how responsive they are to the residents of Stegavik Court and willing to communicate in a way the best suits the needs of the neighbourhood,” Hamilton said.
Traditional Block Watch programs are still valuable for public safety, however, the use of social media has created a very effective approach to neighbourhood safety and is an excellent complement to traditional programs and strategies.
Swallow has since used the Stegavik Court page to update residents on issues in the area and introduce them to the new crime mapping system on deltapolice.ca. The real-time mapping system allows any Delta resident to see what is happening in their area.
If your neighbourhood has a virtual block watch on Facebook and you would like to connect with the Delta Police, contact A/Sgt. Sarah Swallow at email@example.com