When police notice suspicious activity, it’s their obligation to properly address a potential issue before it becomes serious. On Main Campus, in order to best protect a population of students, Campus Safety Services should recognize signs of a possible safety threat in the area – whether that sign comes in the form of a call, visible public activity, or even online posts on apps like Yik Yak
Yik Yak, an app that allows users to post anonymous statuses, is typically used for social and entertainment purposes rather than crime-tracking. But, in the case of the Oct. 12 arrest of a Penn State student who allegedly posted violent threats on the app, police acted appropriately by using the app to pinpoint the hostile user before they could act on those threats, according to according to the Daily Collegian. On Oct. 24, when a student was robbed in the Progress Plaza parking lot, Yik Yak saw significant traffic related to the crime – something CSS should discuss this week during its webinar that will examine the crime-fighting possibilities of the app.
The initiative to host a webinar discussing Yik Yak’s capabilities to help to maintain a safer Main Campus shows a proactive attitude from Temple Police. It is imperative to consider all options to keep the newly expanded patrol zone well-monitored, so acknowledging all available information about the area should be encouraged. If police utilize observations of the community they serve in order to monitor activity, they can take steps closer to preventing crime and arresting alleged offenders.
In cases like the robbery last week, officers can look to posts on the app for information to aid in the pursuit of alleged criminals. Temple Police should recognize the value of Yik Yak and use it to their advantage. By monitoring the digital activity of the residents in the patrol zone, police show their dedication to protecting them.