Saturday, April 12, 2008

Boston Police Experimenting With Community Online Organizing In Jamaica Plain

The Boston Police Department's Neighborhood Crime Watch Unit has initiated an experiment in online community organizing in Jamaica Plain in an effort to "build community and reduce crime by connecting neighbors to each other and to community and police resources."

It's called the "E-13/Jamaica Plain Neighbors Network," and the idea appears to be to add an online tool for crime watches to use. Crime watches are usually bottom-up organizations -- put together at the grass roots level by concerned residents, who then establish a relationship with the local police force.

This new social network appears to be a proactive step by the BPD to provide a "social network" environment for "neighborhood cluster groups" to organize themselves.

It will be interesting to watch this experiment to see how well it works -- and if it should be replicated in other neighborhoods. It may not, however, be a useful tool for the poorest neighborhoods, or, more specifically, those neighborhoods with the poorest access to computer resources.

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