Vol. 81, No. 2News notes

A RCMP officer sits in a car and measures the speed of passing cars.

Social media tips target traffic troubles

Manitoba RCMP received many tips about speeding during a social media campaign. Credit: RCMP


Manitoba RCMP are using new media to tackle an old problem — traffic violations.

A call for tips was placed on social media last fall to address traffic trouble hot spots in a campaign called #rcmpHOTSPOT.

The public was encouraged to send traffic tips to the RCMP using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The initiative aimed at engaging with the public to find out where they would like to see more RCMP officers on the road, says Letisha Sherry, a social media specialist with Manitoba RCMP.

"We wanted to show our followers we listen," she says.

During the two-day campaign, #rcmpHOTSPOT posts garnered more than 1,200 comments.

RCMP Cpl. Brock Carson, with the Headingley Traffic Service, says the tips helped officers pinpoint times and locations where drivers are breaking laws.

"The repeated zones, the places people are talking about, those became our priority zones," Carson says.

Many messages pointed to areas that the RCMP know are prone to troubled traffic, confirming police resources are used effectively, Carson says.

Tips from the campaign resulted in nearly 150 tickets but Carson says the campaign's purpose was to reduce high-risk driving behaviours, making roads safer.

Sherry says the campaign aimed to get people who wouldn't normally call a detachment to engage with the RCMP — especially younger people.

"It's easier for some to leave a comment or send a message on Facebook," says Sherry. "They have information that can make our policing better."

To show the RCMP listened to the comments, traffic officers went to suggested locations and replied with social media posts and photos.

Multiple tweets by the public said illegal passing on the right was common on Winnipeg's Perimeter Highway.

A traffic officer went to Perimeter Highway the next day and caught a vehicle passing in the right-hand shoulder — a fine of more than $200.

Sherry says this campaign can help the RCMP gain social media followers meaning more people will see RCMP news and calls for assistance.

"It's important especially when we have a missing person or an amber alert or a wanted individual."

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