In an attempt to communicate more openly with a tech-savvy generation, the Oxford Police Department (OPD) has created pages on Facebook.com and Myspace.com.
According to Sgt. Jim Squance, the official OPD Web site will still be used for most business, but the Facebook and Myspace accounts could reach the younger demographic of the community.
“We found this was the best use to connect with that age group,” Squance said. “We’re trying to connect with the younger generation and it’s all about information and communication.”
Facebook users can become a fan of the OPD, while residents with Myspace accounts can become a friend of the department.
Included on the OPD Facebook page are recent press releases; links to the OPD Web site for various actions, such as appealing parking citations; and photo albums that include photos from recent crimes.
According to Squance, current photos on the Facebook page include recent cases of theft and property damage.
Police hope that posting photographs of these and similar events may aid in gaining information either online or from OPD’s crime tip line, since the number is also listed on the page.
“Our hope is someone will recognize suspects in these two cases and call us anonymously or get in contact with us through Facebook,” Squance said.
According to Squance, detectives will check the pages and the phone tip line daily to review information provided by community members.
Some students, however, are skeptical of how effective these pages may be.
“I would never use it,” sophomore Emily Wolf said.
Wolf said that she doesn’t believe many students will take the time to view crime photographs, but believes links to OPD’s Web site for everyday use-such as applying for Vacant House Cards and appealing parking citations-may attract more attention.
“I find it hard to believe that people would take time to examine a crime scene,” Wolf said.
Sophomore Grant Foglesong also believes that the pages may not be used as much as OPD may hope.
“I guess I would use it if I got a parking ticket, but until then I wouldn’t need it,” Foglesong said.