A follower of a Seattle Police Department Twitter account that gives out the details of vehicles reported stolen helped officers recover a Honda Civic earlier this week, according to a story in the Seattle Times.
According to the newspaper, the city's police department activated the "getyourcarback" Twitter account earlier this month. Whenever officers receive a report of a stolen car, they will now place details like color, make and model, body type, and license plate number live on the Twitter feed, enabling the more than 900 followers to identify the vehicle.
Lieutenant Mike Edwards of the Seattle Police Department's investigations-procedures unit told the Times 3,000 cars are stolen every year in the city, adding that about 80 percent of those are later recovered. Although this number indicates auto thefts in the city are in decline, law enforcement is still exploring new ways of lowering the rate.
Nor is Seattle the only city whose police force is looking to use new methods to stop car theft. The Colorado Springs Police Department launched its own Twitter account, CSPDPIO, according to a report earlier this month in that city's Gazette. The newspaper also said the department had an existing presence on Twitter, using the social networking service to solicit tips for cold cases.
Despite the growing technological savvy of police forces, motorists should still follow some standard precautions to avoid a theft and the consequent auto insurance claim. Making sure to park in highly visible, well-traveled areas and taking all valuables out of the car when leaving it unattended are both great ways to make one's vehicle less attractive to thieves, experts say.