With car burglaries spiking across the city, Oakland police launched a trial program on Friday using social media to gather reports of auto break-ins while they are happening.
The Oakland Police Department recently created accounts @OaklandAutoBurg on Instagram and X allow direct messages to report auto burglaries in progress.
The reporting program will run throughout the weekend and then the department will assess whether it should be continued and possibly extended to other social media platforms, according to Oakland Police Department spokesperson Officer Kim Armstead.
The trial program is not a replacement for calling or texting 911, police said.
As of early Friday afternoon, @OaklandAutoBurg on X had 566 followers and @OaklandAutoBurg on Instagram had 1080 followers. X is not available to the general public without first signing up for an account and only people with their own X accounts can access @OaklandAutoBurg’s profile.
“If you see something suspicious, DM the details of individuals, & vehicles, and the crime’s location. DON’T attempt to stop the crime!” the department announced on its new X account.
Details can include descriptions of individuals, vehicles, or license plates, along with the location of the crime.
“If it’s safe, snap a pic/video from a distance,” the department advised.
As of Oct. 22, 11,382 auto burglaries were reported in Oakland so far this year — a 36 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the latest weekly crime report by the department.
This story was updated Friday afternoon with additional program information.