Can Facebook save Neighbourhood Watch?

Andrew Kelly, Amalie Finlayson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Project Eyewatch is an online policing strategy that utilises Facebook to promote and facilitate community involvement in resolving local crime and policing issues. The strategy, which operates in the Australian police jurisdictions of Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, has been described as an online version of Neighbourhood Watch and shares many of the objectives of the seminal community policing strategy. The accessibility, functionality and ubiquity of Facebook assist citizens to engage with police at any time and place, overcoming the need to attend face-to-face Neighbourhood Watch meetings. This article compares the objectives of Project Eyewatch and Neighbourhood Watch through the prism of contemporary policing approaches to community engagement. It considers whether social media is a panacea for ailing Neighbourhood Watch networks and poor police communication practices. The article is based on a recent study that evaluated the efficacy of Project Eyewatch as a strategy for engaging the public in community policing (Kelly, 2013). The study found that Project Eyewatch has great potential as a community-engagement strategy, but fundamental changes are needed in the way police engage and interact online with citizens if this potential is to be realised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-77
Number of pages13
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

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