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Calcot police 'tweetathon' rolled out today (Thurs)

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Police see social networking as key to reducing crime in an area with low rates of crimes reported

POLICE in Calcot are today (Thursday) rolling out a new weapon in the fight against the “disproportionate amount” of burglaries which have been plaguing the area, by using Twitter.

Officers will send a ‘Tweetathon' of live updates on the social networking website in the hope that it will spur more people to report suspicious behaviour.

At a briefing on Monday, the head of West Berkshire police, Supt Robin Rickard, said it was the first step in a campaign to fight the despondency and lack of communication in the area that has prevented police from greater success.

“There is a sad lack of [crime] being reported in the area,” he said. “Calcot is affected by a disproportionate amount of crime, but there is a lack of community engagement and people are not reporting suspicious behaviour.”

He expanded on why he thought this was the case in Calcot, by saying: “This is a good neighbourhood, a prosperous area, but there is no real heart to the area: people are on the border of Reading and West Berkshire, and the majority of them work and have very busy lives. They are not engaged and don't often report what they see to us.”

Calcot Burglary Reduction Team member Sgt Paula Morgan, said the tweetathon was just the start of their drive for greater community engagement: “We will use twitter quite intensively [today], but we will also be using social networking more actively in future to engage people and warn them of the risks of crime.”

She said that sharing information was key: “If [people] are oblivious they just don't protect their property well enough.”

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