A pilot program that aimed to use social media to gather information about auto break-ins in Oakland in real time is over.
The Oakland Police Department pulled the plug on the pilot Saturday, one day after urging the public to start using @OaklandAutoBurg on Instagram & X to send direct messages to report auto burglaries in progress. The program was initially planned to run the weekend, a police spokesperson said Friday.
“The auto burglary social media reporting pilot was always intended to be a limited test,” the police department wrote in a social media post. “The test concluded as scheduled and the accounts were deactivated as planned.”
“This account will be reactivated ahead of our next test. Thank you to all who participated. The Oakland Police Department (OPD) will review the results of these tests and evaluate the next steps.”
In announcing the program, police had asked anyone seeing something suspicious to “DM the details of individuals, & vehicles, and the crime’s location. DON’T attempt to stop the crime!”
Police were hoping to receive details including 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 on the social media accounts.
As of Oct. 22, Oakland had recorded 11,382 auto burglaries so far this year — a 36 percent increase over the same period last year, according to a weekly crime report by the department.