By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Military Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro is developing a strategy to boost its presence on the social media. Approved in February this year, the plan aims to improve the Military Police’s relations with Rio’s residents and to diversify the patrolling actions.
With over 45,000 agents, the Military Police already presents impacting numbers in the social platforms: its Facebook page has over 540,000 followers, and its Twitter, Instagram and Youtube profiles, altogether, reaches 144,000 followers.
When it comes to the approach on the social media, each Military Police Unit has its own procedure. The partnership between Barra da Tijuca‘s 31st Military Police Battalion and the area’s population led to the creation of the app “Linha Direta” (Straight Line). The application allows the unit to receive data from Barra’s residences and commercial establishments in real time.
Niterói’s 12th Battalion, along with the local NGO Viver Bem, created a strategy of preventive policing, which consists in installing security cameras in some of Niterói’s schools and communicating through the app Telegram.
The interaction between Military Police forces and the population was fundamental in order to address the security issues in Jacarepaguá, in Zona Oeste. Today, Whatsapp is the main communication channel between the neighborhood’s population and the 18th Battalion.
“The results are really positive. The information is faster, allowing us to act right away. We have been reducing criminality rates in the area since the last two years”, says Colonel Figueiredo, Commander of Jacarepaguá’s 18th Battalion.
The Military Police’s monitoring strategy includes agents who are constantly doing screening on the social media. If there is any situation that requires further investigation, the case is sent to the PM’s Intelligence. If the situation consists in a police report, it is sent to the Operations Room, which immediately sends a police car to the venue.
“I believe that every channel aimed at opening the dialogue with the population is positive. It can help to realize what are the needs for the public security. The social media can be an interesting tool if the relations between the Police and the population are built with transparency”, says André Bezerra, photographer and journalist who lives in Rio and Cologne (Germany).