Sergeant Facebook on patrol

Police have launched a new high-tech system to catch criminals from cyber space and alert residents.

And they have hired a 21-year-old student to help them turn Facebook and social media into anti-crime tools.

Joel Walker, a 21-year-old student at the Australian Catholic University, will be linking residents and businesses with police through online tools in his new role as Strathfield Precinct Officer.

Walker, who was chosen for his ability on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, says the role will involve him managing the police’s Project Eyewatch program, an online connection between Flemington Local Area Command and the community.

Residents will be able to log on to to find out about crime activity happening in the area. From finding out about events where the community can meet our police to residents posting up comments about Strathfield, Walker says the page is the future for the community to interact.

 “I’ll be the link between the community and Flemington Police,” he tells the Scene. “I’ll be monitoring their social network links such as the Project Eyewatch Facebook page, and encouraging the community to alert the police to incidents that might occur around the area.

 “I’ll also be getting local groups, businesses and residents to log on to our page and use it regularly so we can create a strong online community.”

From incidents such as graffiti to stealing, Walker says Project Eyewatch will be a great way for the Strathfield community to find out about what’s occurring in the area.

“I’ll be encouraging people to report non-urgent crimes such as graffiti, stealing from cars and other issues,” Walker says.

Project Eyewatch is a new initiative, launched earlier this year and Flemington Superintendent Phil Rogerson says the program will strengthen the links between the community and the police.

“Strathfield is a busy area that features an extensive transport hub, so we’re working to further engage those residents and businesses that are constantly on the move,” he says.

“Instead of attending community meetings some distance away, people can simply log  on to the Project Eyewatch page and share information at their own convenience.”

Chosen for his previous experience with community organisations and for his ability to engage with the online community, Walker says he is excited to be promoting greater safety among the Strathfield community.

“This will be different from any other community work I’ve done,” he says. “I’ve never engaged in helping the police with reporting crime activity and I think the role will give me a different experience.

“And through this, I’ll be able to talk to different groups and build different networks. It’ll be a great way to keep the community safe.”


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