Engaging the Public and Protecting Agencies and Personnel on Facebook and Beyond

In November 2009, the Roanoke, Virginia, Police Department launched a Facebook page as part of a crime prevention initiative known as the Safer City Roanoke campaign. The goal was to decrease incidents of property crime by educating citizens about how they could best protect their possessions. In its infancy, the Facebook page was used to post crime prevention information and surveillance pictures and videos of suspects. This approach was effective for about a year, but in that time the police department realized that Facebook was rapidly evolving, and the department needed to keep up with the ever-changing technology if it wanted to maintain open communication with its citizens.