Using the popular photo-sharing website Flickr, Bellevue Police have found a new way to reunite residents with stolen property. The City Council learned of the application Monday when the police reported arresting thieves responsible for a rash of burglaries in the Somerset and Newport Shores neighborhoods this spring.
Bellevue saw a spike in burglaries in south neighborhoods in April -- 39, compared to 21 in March.
With the department's Special Enforcement Team, which includes plain-clothes detectives, working with property crimes detectives and patrol officers, police arrested two Federal Way men and an Auburn man in May. The number of burglaries that month dropped to 20.
"This is an excellent example of teamwork within the Police department that led to a swift and successful closure of the case," Deputy Chief Cherie Baker reported. "And with social media, we have new ways to inform the public and even gain their assistance."
The police always make an effort to get stolen property back to people whose homes have been burglarized, but the city's Flickr site offers a new avenue. Residents don't have to come down to the station, but can just go to the police's stolen property Flickr photo sets.
The police are not the only department making use of the city's Flickr site. People can see photos of all of the works in the sculpture exhibition that opened Saturday and post comments through Flickr. Bellwether 2010
The city has been expanding its use of social media (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channel) to reach new audiences and offer them more ways to engage.
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