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Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 03/20/2012

Robberies on the rise in D.C.: Using Twitter to track crime and safety activity

(Clarence Williams - The Washington Post)
A Washington Post reporter used Twitter as a starting point for piecing together the aftermath of several robberies committed recently in the District.

Clarence Williams found that 875 robberies were reported in the District through March 18, a 20 percent jump over last year. Robberies in which a gun was used are up more than 70 percent. Williams then used police reports and the D.C. Police Department’s Twitter account to follow up on three separate robberies in different parts of the city.

After noticing an “alarming number” of robberies being tweeted from the police Twitter feed, Williams decided to pay closer attention and head to crime scenes as quickly as he could.

“This is a tool to really be able to get to a crime scene in a hurry,” Williams said, “and to really be able to give some pictures and color to this very serious crime issue going on in the city.”

Since about 88 percent of law enforcement agencies have used social media sites, according to a survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, it’s important to know where to look. View PostLocal’s updated Crime & Safety Twitter list after the jump. Resources include D.C. Fire and EMS, D.C. Police Department and the D.C. DMV:

Tell us:Are you noticing a rise in robberies? Share your stories in the comments below or by taking this poll:

By  |  10:48 AM ET, 03/20/2012

Tags:  crime, safety, d.c. police

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